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‘Hollywood Treasurer’ Fools Millions Cruise, Block

After years of losses and underwhelming performances, film studio Paramount Pictures is the highest-grossing film of the decade. His first five films to hit theaters this year all opened at the top spot, with ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ being the highest-grossing film of all time.

But not everyone celebrates. Many of the stars and producers of these films, including Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock, and the creators of “Jackass,” have shelled millions of dollars for deals involving Paramount, its Paramount + Streaming service, and cable channels. I think I will miss it. Epix owned by Amazon.com Inc.

Stars, including Tom Cruise, have noticed a difference between Universal and Sony paychecks and Paramount paychecks.

Movie stars, producers, and filmmakers often get a portion of their profits from their films, such as a portion of digital sales or licensing to third parties. It can reach tens of millions of dollars for a blockbuster movie like Maverick, or millions for a smaller hit like Lost City starring Bullock.

According to several people familiar with the conversation, Paramount Pictures profit participants believe their earnings are below what they should be because the studio is making less than other studios are getting in similar deals. Talent’s representatives have met with Paramount to seek additional funding, said the people, who asked not to be identified because negotiations are ongoing.

No one has threatened to sue yet, but lawyers are weighing their options. One possibility is for Hollywood’s unions to take action. Guild is also collecting the leftovers of these films, and Paramount’s deal with his Epix means they too may have missed out on millions of dollars compared to what they get from other studios. The Guild declined to comment. Representatives for Cruise, Bullock and “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement to Bloomberg News, Paramount said it has had no ownership interest in Epix for five years and that “our contracts are at market rates.”

Lawyers and agents have always lamented “Hollywood accounting.” Hollywood accounting allows studios to overstate their expenses and disguise profits to avoid sharing proceeds with their financial partners. Both sides want to avoid lawsuits, but there have been several major lawsuits over the past decade. Fox settled a multi-million dollar dispute with participants on the show “Bones.”

Employees worry that the rise of streaming services makes it even easier for studios to hide profits from talent through self-dealing. Most studios used to license their movies to premium cable networks like HBO, but now they license them to streaming services (often the ones they own). Warner Bros. distributes its films on HBO Max, The Walt Disney Company distributes its films on Disney+, and Universal has a deal with sister company Peacock. Universal also signed a deal with Amazon.

Streaming services generally do not license original movies to others at all. Netflix, Amazon, and Apple are buying their rights upfront rather than giving talent partial ownership of their projects. The Writers Guild of America has secured $42 million for him in arbitration from Netflix and $4 million for her from Amazon as an unpaid balance in what the union called “self-dealing.”

‘Hollywood Treasurer’ Fools Millions Cruise, Block

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