When you reach the level that Tom Cruise is at in terms of stardom and buying power, you're likely to get some perks.
It can be something as simple as not having to wait in airports to board, it can be free stuff, it can be something more besides. Getting your own $50,000,000 studio compound to shoot your own films in, however, is something that's reserved just for the likes of Tom Cruise.
Of course, Tom Cruise and Scientology essentially go hand-in-hand and so it goes that a newly-opened studio compound in the heart of Hollywood - Sunset Boulevard, to be exact - will focus both on the Cruiser and the Church of Scientology.
The facility, which took over five years to renovate and rebuild, will be used by Tom Cruise to film a lot more of his future projects. In the early '90s, Cruise had some of his films - Days of Thunder and Ron Howard's Far And Away - filmed on the grounds of Scientology's headquarters. The plan, according to official statements by the Church, is to do the same here.
It's not just films for the Cruiser, however. There's something a lot more sinister at work, in fact. The base, known as Scientology Media Productions, will house a 24-hour news channel and its own radio station. Speaking at the launch, Scientology leader David Miscavige said that the studio is "(our) uncorrupted communication line to the billions. Because as the saying goes, if you don’t write your own story, someone else will. So, yes, we’re now going to be writing our story like no other religion in history. And it’s all going to happen right here from Scientology Media Productions."
That's not terrifying at all.
Critics of Scientology, particularly Mike Rinder - a former high-ranking member of the Church - said that the studio is really just a front. "The idea of this thing is not just feature movies, but TV ads, informational videos, TV programs. This is their platform to make their break in Hollywood. They don’t need this new base, so the question becomes why? It’s just a fundraising ploy, to buy real estate, to persuade people to give them money, and if they can come up with the concoction that this is the next great thing to tell the world about Scientology, then all the better."