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‘Mission: Impossible’ debuts with $80M over five days

Tom Cruise blockbuster ignites box office but falls short of expectations
Actor Tom Cruise poses for photographers on the red carpet of the world premiere for the movie “Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning” at the Spanish Steps in Rome Monday, June 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

After a globe-trotting publicity blitz by star Tom Cruise, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” launched with a franchise-best $80 million over five days, though it came in shy of industry expectations with a $56.2 million haul over the three-day weekend, according to studio estimates.

The Paramount Pictures debut was boosted by strong overseas sales of $155 million from 70 markets. But while a $235 million worldwide launch marked one of the best global openings of the year, “Dead Reckoning” couldn’t approach the high-speed velocity of last summer’s top film, “Top Gun: Maverick.”

“Dead Reckoning Part One,” the seventh film in the 27-year-old series, had been forecast to better the franchise high of the previous installment, “Fallout,” which opened with $61 million domestically in 2018. Instead, it also fell short of the $57.8 million “Mission: Impossible II” debuted with in 2000.

That puts the film’s opening-weekend tally very close to the tepid launch of Disney’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” which opened in U.S. and Canadian theaters with $82 million over five days and $60 million over the three-day weekend. Paramount and Skydance had higher hopes for the action extravaganza of “Dead Reckoning,” which cost $290 million to make, not counting marketing expenses.

Those costs were inflated, in part, by the pandemic. “Dead Reckoning,” directed by Christopher McQuarrie, was among the first major productions shut down by COVID-19. It was preparing to shoot in Italy in March 2020. When the film got back on track, McQuarrie and Cruise helped lead the industry-wide recovery back to film sets – albeit with some well-publicized friction over protocols along the way.

Still, “Dead Reckoning” was hailed as a high point in the franchise. Critics (96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and fans (an “A” CinemaScore) alike came away awed by the stunts and chases of the latest “Mission: Impossible” film. Though the coming competition of “Barbenheimer” — the much-anticipated debuts of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” — looms, “Mission: Impossible” should play well for weeks to come.

“This is a global franchise. It’s going gangbusters and its going to play for a long time. Quality always wins in the end,” said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount.

“Dead Reckoning,” Aronson said, met or exceeded the studio’s expectations.

“In international markets, in like-for-like markets, we’re 15% ahead of ‘Fallout,’ and that’s taking China out,” added Aronson. “Domestically, we’re over 3% ahead of ‘Fallout’ for the first five days. To beat its predecessor is phenomenal, especially in this environment.”

Cruise, the so-called savior of movie theaters last year, traveled tirelessly to again pump life back into a summer box office that’s been sluggish. After a splashy world premiere in Rome with a red-carpet on the Spanish Steps, Cruise and McQuarrie surprised theaters in Atlanta, Miami, Toronto and Washington D.C. in the days ahead of opening.

“Dead Reckoning” hit theaters at a crucial mid-summer period for Hollywood, and not just because of the SAG-AFTRA strike which began Thursday. “Mission: Impossible” launched a week before one of the biggest box-office showdowns of the year.

Though “Dead Reckoning” and “Oppenheimer” have vied for some of the same IMAX screens, each film has publicly endorsed the idea that a rising tide lifts all blockbusters. Cruise and McQuarrie in early July even bought opening-weekend tickets to both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.” “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig and “Oppenheimer” filmmaker Christopher Nolan reciprocated with their own gestures of support.

However that trio of films performs over the next few weeks will do a lot to determine the fate of the summer box office.

“These are a crucial couple of weeks for the industry starting this weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore. “I think it’s going to be a fun reinvigoration of the box office because we have had a few films underperforming. Really, the summer movie season restarts this week with ‘Mission’ leading into ‘Barbenheimer.’”

No other new wide release challenged “Mission: Impossible” over the weekend. Second place went to Angel Studios’ faith-based political thriller “Sound of Freedom” which increased 37% in its second with $27 million. Jim Caveziel stars in the child trafficking drama.

Last week’s top film, “ Insidious: The Red Door ” slid to third with $13 million in its second weekend. “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is dropping quickly with $12 million its third weekend, with a domestical total so far of $145.4 million.

In limited release, the Searchlight Pictures’ mockumentary “Theater Camp” opened to $270,000 from six theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” $56.2 million.

2. “Sound of Freedom,” $27 million.

3. “Insidious: The Red Door,” $13 million.

4. “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” $12 million.

5. “Elemental,” $8.7 million.

6. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” $6.1 million.

7. “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,” $3.4 million.

8. “No Hard Feelings,” $3.3 million.

9. “Joy Ride,” $2.6 million.

10. “The Little Mermaid,” $2.4 million.

READ ALSO: The story behind Barbenheimer, the summer’s most online movie showdown