“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” topped domestic box office charts while falling short of initial expectations. Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster collected $56.2 million between Friday and Sunday, a lackluster start for a movie that cost nearly $300 million before marketing.
Heading into the weekend, Paramount and Skydance’s action-adventure was projected to set a new franchise record with $60 million or more. Instead, ticket sales landed behind 2018’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” ($61 million) and 2000’s “Mission: Impossible II” ($57.8 million), which remain as the top openings in the 27-year-old series.
“Dead Reckoning Part One,” which launched in theaters on Wednesday, has generated an estimated $80 million in its first five days of release. That’s a similar start to Disney’s $300 million-budgeted “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” which debut to $60 million over the traditional weekend and pulled in $82 million through the extended holiday frame. “Indy 5” hasn’t shown endurance, dropping to fourth place over the weekend and bringing its tally to $136 million domestically and $263 million worldwide.
To avoid a similar fate, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” needs to have a box office run as long and unwieldy as the film’s title. The movie, which finds Cruise’s teflon operative Ethan Hunt defying death as he flies off a mountain on his motorcycle, scales a runaway train and maneuvers a tiny car through the bustling streets of Rome, was incredibly expensive due to COVID-related starts and stops and other pandemic-era safety measures. So there’s a chance that next summer’s sequel, “Dead Reckoning Part Two,” will be less expensive.
Already, the seventh “Mission: Impossible” is showing strength at the international box office with $155 million, including a weak 25.4 million in China. That brings its worldwide tally to a respectable $253 million, the biggest global debut for the franchise.
“This [domestic] opening is roughly average for an action thriller at this point in its series,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “The foreign markets are where action movies excel, and the overseas openings are strong.”
Repeat business, as well as global box office returns, will be key in saving Cruise’s latest mission. The good news is that “Mission: Impossible” movies have historically demonstrated remarkable endurance even with smaller opening weekends. “Fallout,” for example, collected $61 million to start and ended its run with a franchise record-setting $791 million globally.
But Ethan Hunt has never have to face the phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer.” Next weekend, “Dead Reckoning” will compete for attention against Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” and Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” which both open on July 21. The unlikely showdown between the two very different films has become an online phenomenon, one that has carried into the real world with tens of thousands of moviegoers booking double features of “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie.”
More to come…