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The Hollywood Insider: Tom Cruise's bad box office

”Knight and Day” has slim box office returns, which might affect the future of ”Mission: Impossible IV”; ”Kate Plus Eight” may run afoul of child labor laws

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Does Knight and Day‘s box office mean trouble for M:I-4?
Knight and Day seemed like an obvious choice for Tom Cruise’s summer-blockbuster return. But with an opening weekend of $20.1 million, the action comedy (costarring Cameron Diaz) couldn’t even match the bow of Cruise’s much artier Eyes Wide Shut ($21.7 million). Hollywood is buzzing with theories about what happened. ”Between Mission: Impossible and his other movies, people just felt they’ve seen it before,” says a source close to the film.

The blame for Knight and Day‘s slow start isn’t being laid squarely on Cruise — sources point to the ambiguous title and marketing materials that never told the story — but there’s already speculation about what effect it might have on Mission: Impossible IV. Paramount received the first draft of the screenplay last week. Sources close to the project suggest that Cruise’s role as Ethan Hunt may now be pared down as he passes the torch to a younger spy. One source even hinted that Hunt could be killed off. It’s all just speculation at this point, though: International grosses for Knight and Day are just starting to roll in, and prognosticators expect good things from overseas. Ethan Hunt could still get a very large assignment.
Nicole Sperling

Protecting reality TV’s smallest stars
With more family reality series on the airwaves every day — 19 Kids & Counting! Raising Sextuplets! — concerns continue to grow over the lack of legal protections for the kids who appear. In fact, as Kate Plus 8 (which has complied with all current laws) returns to TLC July 11, the show’s home state of Pennsylvania is considering a bill that would impose much stricter regulations, akin to laws in California protecting child actors (think requiring work permits, restricting hours, demanding on-set teachers). The Gosselins inspired the changes but aren’t being targeted for wrongdoing, says state rep Thomas P. Murt, who introduced the bill in June: ”When the child labor laws were [originally] written, there was no reality TV.”

Though Pennsylvania’s the only state currently mulling such changes, the spread of reality TV to locales beyond Hollywood — Bravo’s Real Housewives franchises in New Jersey and Atlanta, for instance — has made for a wild, unregulated frontier. As child actor-turned-advocate Paul Petersen, who heads lobbying group A Minor Consideration, says, ”There is no such thing as a real reality show. And the children clearly are working. To say they aren’t is like saying the children in a sweatshop aren’t working just because they’re there with their parents.”
Jennifer Armstrong