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WORK ON `FIRM’ BRINGS BONUS - HOLLYWOOD-STYLE

SHARE WORK ON `FIRM’ BRINGS BONUS - HOLLYWOOD-STYLE

Work hard. Put in those extra hours. Get a little something extra from the boss.

Well, it's Hollywood. So instead of a box of candy or a bouquet of flowers or some tickets to a Madonna concert, Paramount Pictures decided to do something quite nice for several people connected to its new film "The Firm."The studio bought new $100,000 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL convertible two-seaters for the filmmakers and star.

"We just wanted to say: `Hey, thank you. You've worked tremendously hard. You're special to us. You've gone that extra distance,' " said Sherry Lansing, the chairwoman of the Motion Picture Group at Paramount Pictures.

Those who went that extra distance and worked so hard were Tom Cruise, the star of the film, who also received about $12 million and will make millions more from his share of the gross receipts; Sydney Pollack, the director, who hauled in about $5.5 million and will also make a few million more from the grosses, and Scott Rudin, a producer, one of the most prolific and successful in town. The other producer of the movie, John Davis, decided to have Paramount donate the money to his favorite charity, the Fulfillment Fund, which helps poor teenagers in Los Angeles attend college.

Well, even by the town's often wacky standards, the cars bought by Paramount left many executives and agents in Hollywood amazed. And embarrassed.

The head of one major studio, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "This only confirms the fact that Hollywood is out of touch with any values, any reality, any sense of social responsibility. It's like Wall Street of the '80s."

"The Firm," which is No. 1 at the box office, is based on the John Grisham best seller about an evil law firm that lures a Harvard graduate (played by Cruise) with lavish gifts.