Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”
Tom Cruise, the star credited with saving the box office after Top Gun: Maverick hit $1.5 billion in worldwide ticket sales, now faces a different kind of reckoning – he must survive the Barbenheimer Effect.
His Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One plummeted the franchise’s bottom 64 percent at $19.5 million in its second weekend as it went up against Barbie and Oppenheimer, whose dual arrivals transformed into a cultural phenomenon and drove the domestic box office to historic heights. Sales for the weekend of July 21-23 were the fourth-biggest ever; Additionally, it was the first time ever that one film grossed $100 million or more and another $50 million or more. Barbie grossed $155 million, followed by $80.5 million for Oppenheimer. Nobody in Hollywood expected such an overwhelming turnout.
The seventh installment in Paramount and Skydance’s fabled ‘Mission: Impossible’ series, which ended Sunday with total domestic sales of $118.8 million, was hoping to gross as much as $25 million on its second release.
The question now is whether, over the long term, Dead Reckoning Part One can stabilize and enjoy as other installments in the series have, and just like Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick. Executives across Hollywood, and not just at Paramount, aren’t ruling out Dead Reckoning just yet, given that the film has outperformed both Barbie and Oppenheimer’s critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and has strong viewer exit ratings.
“I don’t think the story is written yet,” says an executive at a rival studio.
Mission: Impossible pictures have never had mega openings, but expectations were high for Dead Reckoning after Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick opened Memorial Day weekend in 2022 with $160.5 million, with $126.7 million for the three days. Dead Reckoning had expected to gross $90 million in the first five days beginning July 12; Instead, the top $78.5 million was taken, not adjusted for inflation.
Mission franchise titles have historically received a larger percentage of their global box office earnings worldwide. Dead Reckoning Part One is no exception. In its second weekend, it generated an additional $55 million in 72 markets, for total sales of $252.1 million overseas and $370.9 million worldwide through Sunday. It’s doing particularly well in Asia, where Barbie and Oppenheimer aren’t strong players. And in a number of markets, it’s 15 percent or more ahead of 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. In Japan, it launched at $7.9 million, 23 percent ahead of Fallout, which brought in the top franchise overseas at $571.5 million, for a total of $791.7 million, including $220.2 million in North America.
Mission: Impossible 7 struggled for three weeks with the loss of Imax screens to Oppenheimer and the loss of premium large format screens to both Oppenheimer and Barbie. The upcharge for Imax and PLFs is significant and can have a big impact on the bottom line. In early July, Imax screens were dedicated to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Cruise’s latest film, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, cost almost $300 million to produce and its release date has been delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening was originally planned for summer 2021, then for summer or autumn 2022. The release date eventually fell to mid-July of this year, a date dictated by Dead Reckoning Part Two’s filming schedule and Cruise’s availability to promote Part One (the actor is known for his global marketing efforts).
Another observer adds: “Barbenheimer has been tapping into MI7’s potential this weekend while Oppenheimer has been ripping off older men from dead reckoning.” Additionally, Sound of Freedom is an unexpected force to be reckoned with, and offers competition from an unexpected quarter.”
US box office estimates show that Angel Studios’ faith-based political thriller “Sound of Freedom” beat Dead Reckoning over the weekend with $20.1 million for total grossings of $123.4 million, according to Comscore (Sound of Freedom opened July 4). Paramount and Other Studios Show Dead Reckoning Beats Sound of Freedom; The order is determined by the actual values on Monday.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two is slated to hit theaters on June 28, 2024. McQuarrie and Cruise shot much of the film, but production has now been halted due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, marking another moment of reckoning for the storied action franchise.
Things were different in late June, when Cruise – Hollywood’s most well-known proponent of the cinematic experience – urged audiences to watch “Dial of Destiny.” And yes, two more films in a surprisingly effective plea. The actor wrote on Instagram, “I love a double film and it doesn’t get any more explosive (or pinker) than one with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie.”