A pay dispute between Tom Cruise and Hollywood studio Paramount has reportedly put the brakes on Mission: Impossible 6.
The actor is reportedly chasing a better pay deal after playing the franchise’s leading spy Ethan Hunt for 20 years.
But Paramount Pictures has allegedly baulked at the demand, sending pre-production for the blockbuster (due to start filming in January 2017) to a grinding halt.
According to Deadline, Cruise is after the same amount Universal Pictures is paying him to headline 2017’s The Mummy.
Figures surrounding the deal are unknown, but with Cruise’s earnings at $US40 million ($52 million) last year, expect the pay deal to be big.
A team of more than 20 Mission: Impossible writers and visual effects artists have reportedly been told to stop working with Paramount; ending pre-production until the salary dispute is resolved.
Another theory floated by Deadline is that Paramount is trying to trim Cruise’s fees after a disastrous year for the studio.
Cruise, 54, was reportedly paid $US24 million ($32 million) for last year’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which grossed $US683 million ($894 million) worldwide.
But Paramount’s Ben-Hur, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Star Trek Beyond and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows have all underperformed at the box office.
Biblical blockbuster Ben-Hur cost more than $US100 million ($131 million) in production but raked in only $AU15 million during its debut weekend in the United States.
Last year’s Terminator Genisys reboot starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke also failed, with Paramount shelving the franchise indefinitely.
But Mission Impossible is one of Paramount’s best-performing franchises 20 years on, bucking Hollywood trends.
Sequel fatigue is now a very real trend hitting the film industry, with Independence Day: Resurgence, Zoolander 2, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Ghostbusters and Star Trek Beyond all flopping in the past 12 months.
Last year’s Rogue Nation cost $US148 million ($194 million) to produce but went on to become the franchise’s second-best grossing film at nearly $US687 million ($900 million) worldwide.
The series, which debuted with Cruise in 1996, has grossed more than $US2 billion ($2.6 billion) worldwide and shows no signs of slowing down.
With Mission: Impossible doing the impossible, perhaps Cruise is correct in asking for a little extra coin?