Boohoo. Tom Cruise Will Make a Few Millions Less on MI: 4. Sniff.

In Hollywood, you know you’re big time when people are willing to pay you up front just to be able to go around town saying they have a movie starring you, even if the film doesn’t end up happening. That used to be Tom Cruise’s life. Not so much anymore. Despite the fact that “Knight and Day” was pretty darn good (at least I liked it, and really, isn’t that all that matters?), the Cruister’s career is not looking so rosy nowadays, and he needs a big hit (or at least, a hit of any kind) pretty bad. Which may explain why Cruise has agreed to take “a substantially reduced upfront payment” for his role in the upcoming “Mission: Impossible 4″ to ensure that the film gets made.

Of course, Tom Cruise’s “reduced” paycheck will still be more than what most people in the world will earn in a lifetime, but in the micro universe of jet-setting Hollywood movie stars and $1,000/day coke habits, that’s like getting slapped in the face in the town square for all to see. It’s not like we’re talking about a movie star foregoing his big time paycheck to do a small indie film here, after all. This is “MI4″, a film with big explosions and save the world scenarios.

The fact is, Cruise needs “MI4″ more than “MI4″ needs him at the moment, and the studio knows that, which may explain the pay cut for Cruise. But don’t cry a river for Tom. The actor still has plenty of back-end deals in place that should the film prove profitable (which is highly likely, given the franchise’s staying power over the years), he will still be smiling that big smile at the end of the day.

The good news, though, is that more seemingly impossible missions are coming our way. The bad news? Well, there aren’t any, really. So Tommy loses a million here and there, the guy is still ridiculously well paid, so I suggest no one lose sleep over it.