From: Tilman Hausherr, scientology celebrities FAQ" of alt.religion.scientology, last updated 1 July 2005 (http://home.snafu.de/tilman/faq-you/celeb.txt; viewed 11 November 2005):
What happens when a Hollywood star spouts off about religion?
If it's ultimate A-lister Tom Cruise, who has been outspoken about his Scientology beliefs while promoting War of the Worlds, the fallout -- at least at the box office -- appears negligible.
The potential for permanent fan alienation has made religion, like politics, long a taboo topic for most celebrities to publicly schmooze about. Yet with early success -- War of the Worlds has taken in $113.3 million in North America since its debut Wednesday -- it looks as if the sci-fi film is on Cruise control, and moviegoers are seemingly shrugging off his rants on religion, psychiatry and postpartum depression as well as his couch-hopping for his new fiancee, Katie Holmes.
Given Hollywood's 19-week box-office losing streak, observers note that as long as stars' films are hits, they might now feel emboldened to speak out about anything that smacks of controversy, short of clubbing baby seals.
"What counts is box-office success. The religion of Hollywood is money," says Martin Kaplan, associate dean at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.
Still, Cruise's ramblings on his promotional tour -- as opposed to Brad Pitt's more focused spotlighting of African poverty while promoting Mr. & Mrs. Smith -- are considered off-putting among some Hollywood insiders and public relations pros who typically position their celebrity clients in as neutral a spotlight as possible.