August 15, 2008 / 12:28 AM / 10 years ago

MGM chief says Tom Cruise "full partner" at UA

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Seeking to end speculation that superstar Tom Cruise may soon leave Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s United Artists film label, MGM Chairman Harry Sloan said on Thursday the actor will stay a “full partner” at the studio.

Cast member Tom Cruise attends the premiere of "Tropic Thunder" at the Mann's Village theatre in Westwood, California, August 11, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

“He will continue as our full partner in control of UA. He is in the middle of one of the greatest careers our industry has ever seen and one that will continue at the top of United Artists Entertainment,” Sloan said in statement.

One day earlier, Cruise’s long-time producing partner Paula Wagner left her post as chief executive of UA to return to making movies instead of running the specialty film company.

MGM said in a statement late Wednesday that Cruise would remain with UA, but speculation continued in Hollywood on Thursday that Cruise might soon leave.

Cruise and Wagner, who was Cruise’s producing partner on movies such as the “Mission: Impossible” series, acquired around 30 percent of the MGM division nearly two years ago to revive the studio formed by Hollywood luminaries Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffiths.

But under Wagner’s tenure, UA released just one movie, “Lions for Lambs,” that flopped at box offices, and they have seen their World War II drama “Valkyrie” delayed.

Still, Wagner left with several high-profile projects in development including “Ranger’s Apprentice” from Oscar winner Paul Haggis and “Champions” by Guillermo del Toro.

Wagner retained her ownership stake in UA, and the studio continues to operate with a full staff that includes Chief Operating Officer Elliot Kleinberg.

Editing by Richard Chang

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