Will private equity continue to roar?

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When MGM/United Artists releases its war-themed drama "Lions for Lambs" on Nov. 9, the movie will be more than a test of Tom Cruise's popularity: It will also indicate whether the private investment consortia that have pumped billions of dollars into Hollywood are on the right track.

Three years since hedge funds and other Wall Street financing vehicles started looking at the major studios as a way to diversify assets (backing slates of films in the belief that it's easier to make money by spreading risk over 20-30 pictures at a time), it is far from certain that these investments will pay off.

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