Cruise helps resurrect historic movie studio

Actor will star and produce, while partner Paula Wagner will head United Artists, founded by Chaplin and others.

NEW YORK ( -- Movie superstar Tom Cruise and MGM are partnering to resurrect the historic United Artists movie studio founded by Charlie Chaplin and associates, MGM's CEO announced Thursday.

The deal, which will give Cruise and his partner Paula Wagner "substantial ownership" in the new studio, will also give the pair control of the company's production slate.

Cruise will star in films for United Artists and produce, while Wagner will serve as chief executive of the studio, MGM CEO Harry Sloan said a statement.

The move marks a major comeback for Cruise and Wagner after Viacom's (Charts) Paramount Pictures dumped the couple last summer, when Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone complained that Cruise's behavior, such as his couch-jumping incident on Oprah Winfrey's talk show and criticism of actress Brooke Shields for her taking of antidepressants, hurt the actor's most recent film, "Mission: Impossible 3."

Paramount cut ties with Cruise in August.

United Artists was founded by Chaplin, along with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D. W. Griffith 85 years ago. The studio helped make the "James Bond", "Rocky" and "Pink Panther" movies.

Cruise last teamed up with the original United Artists on "Rain Man" in 1988, which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture.

UA has not released as many prominent films in the past few years, although it was the distributor of last year's "Capote," which featured an Academy Award-winning performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the title role.

MGM was acquired by Sony (Charts), cable firm Comcast (Charts) and a team of private equity firms in 2004. MGM and Viacom compete with Walt Disney (Charts), Time Warner (Charts) and General Electric's (Charts) NBC Universal Studios in the movie business.

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