Striking Hollywood Writers Reach Deal With United Artists

Striking Hollywood writers have reached a deal with Tom Cruise's production outfit United Artists Films to resume working while the strike continues against other studios.

The deal announced Monday was the first reached with big-screen producers by the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike since Nov. 5. Terms were not disclosed.

"United Artists has lived up to its name. UA and the writers guild came together and negotiated seriously. The end result is that we have a deal that will put people back to work," said Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West.

The guild said the agreement addresses key issues of writers, who walked off the job over their cut of potential profits from programming on the Internet and other new media.

The deal does not include MGM, the main parent company of United Artists.

Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner took over the venerable United Artists banner in 2006 after they severed long-term ties with Paramount, where their production company had been based.

Founded in silent-movie days by Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith, United Artists had been largely mothballed in recent years.

The guild "agreement is important, unique and makes good business sense for United Artists," Wagner said. "In keeping with the philosophy of its original founders, artists who sought to create a studio in which artists and their creative visions could flourish, we are pleased to have reached an agreement with the WGA."

The first United Artists release under Cruise and Wagner's stewardship, the war-on-terror drama "Lions for Lambs," was a flop despite a top-name cast that included Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, who also directed.