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Variety reports that United Artists co-chairman Paula Wagner (the Chad Hugo to Tom Cruise’s Pharrell) is in talks with parent studio MGM to vacate her post, making her the second executive to leave the company this week following the departure of EVP Jeff Kleeman on Monday. According to Vulture buddy Nikki Finke, Wagner’s exit comes after her failure to meet production deadlines imperiled part of the studio’s $500 million financing deal with Merrill Lynch. Under her leadership, UA has made only two films — last fall’s Lions for Lambs (currently on track to recoup its budget in DVD sales by 2064) and the upcoming Valkyrie, in which Cruise plays a one-eyed Nazi who botches an assassination on Hitler — and her exit leaves behind just Cruise, production president Don Granger, and “a few junior execs.” As part of her punishment, Wagner will retain an ownership interest in the company.
Paula Wagner leaves UA [Variety]
Tom Cruise’s Movie Studio Imploding: Paula Wagner Is DOA At United Artists; But Was It Suicide or Murder By MGM? [Deadline Hollywood Daily]