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‘Mission: Impossible’ and Tom Cruise dominate box office but come in shy of industry expectations

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.

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.

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 toured through 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 returned 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.

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.

Source: fortune.com