Tom Cruise’s seventh “Mission: Impossible” spectacle, which arrived in theaters Wednesday and cost at least $400 million to make and market, would mark a turning point in the troubled summer box office. Death defying stunts! A new love interest! That thrilling theme song!
Ticket sales went well. But the spectacular (and perhaps unrealistic) result Hollywood was expecting didn’t materialize, raising concerns about the movie capital’s over-reliance on aging franchises — and heightening the studio’s fears about what kind of damage the strike would do. actors might have on the rest of the high-stakes summer slate.
Adding to the annoyance, a low-budget film from outside the Hollywood system, “Sound of Freedom” (Angel Studios), which was attacked by some critics as a recruiting tool for the far right, became a box office phenomenon.
“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” directed and co-written by Christopher McQuarrie, grossed $56.2 million this weekend in the United States and Canada, for a total of approximately $80 million since opening on Wednesday. Overseas, the two-hour, 43-minute film grossed another $155 million for a worldwide total of about $235 million, according to Paramount Pictures.
Analysts who track moviegoer interest and use complex formulas to predict ticket sales had predicted that “Dead Reckoning Part One” would generate about $250 million worldwide in its first five days, with the United States and Canada contributing at least $85 million . “The industry was looking for bigger here,” says David A. Gross, a film consultant who publishes a box office numbers newsletter.
“This opening is about average for an action thriller at this point in the series,” said Mr. Gross on the extremely expensive “Dead Reckoning Part One”, which received sensational reviews. “Of course there’s nothing average about this movie.”
mr. Considered a blockbuster hit after last year’s Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise promoted “Dead Reckoning Part One” with his usual touring red carpets for premieres in Rome, London, Abu Dhabi, Seoul, Sidney, and New York. Early last week, it made a surprise appearance in movie theaters during preview screenings in cities like Toronto, Atlanta, and Miami.
The blistering promotional campaign for ‘Dead Reckoning Part One’ will be Hollywood’s last until a consortium of studios can come to terms with SAG-AFTRA, as the powerful actors’ union is known. On Friday, the union went on strike for the first time in 43 years, saying it was fed up with exorbitant pay for entertainment moguls and worried it wouldn’t receive its fair share of the loot of a streaming-dominated future.
In the coming weeks, studios like Universal, Sony, and Disney will have movies lined up that will have to do without the promotional star power of the likes of Denzel Washington (“The Equalizer 3”), Owen Wilson and Tiffany Haddish (“Haunted Mansion”), and Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx (“Strays”).
For the weekend in the United States and Canada, “Dead Reckoning Part One” played on 4,327 screens and was #1, with premium-priced IMAX venues and other major venues contributing 37 percent of ticket sales. “Based on ratings and recommendations from exit polls, which were out of this world, this was the best-received ‘Mission’ to date, which speaks volumes about the viability of the franchise,” said Chris Aronson, Paramount’s president of domestic distribution .
Mr. Aronson made several other glass-half-full observations, including that “Dead Reckoning Part One” vastly outperformed the previous chapter of the franchise, “Fallout” (2018), in most overseas countries during its first five days.
Amazingly, considering the cost (about $15 million) and the low-wattage marketing campaign, “Sound of Freedom” came in second, earning $27 million from 3,265 standard screens, for a two-week total of $86 million. The horror film “Insidious: The Red Door,” a similar low-budget offering from Sony Pictures, finished third and grossed $13 million, for a two-week total of $58 million.
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (Disney-Lucas film) epitomized a problem Hollywood has run into this summer with franchise glasses, trailing behind the top three with about $12 million, for a three-week total of $145 million ($302 million). worldwide).
That’s a lot of money, but not nearly enough for a movie that cost at least $400 million to make and market. Since box office revenues are split roughly 50-50 between studios and theaters, “Dial of Destiny” would have to perform more than twice as well for Disney to make money.
Domestic ticket sales totaled about $5 billion this year, down about 20 percent from the same period in 2019, the last year before the pandemic severely disrupted moviegoing. And franchise sequels are part of the reason for the decline. Pumped for decades for profit, some of these properties have been left with worn tires.
The third “Ant-Man” movie, the 10th “Fast and Furious” chapter, the fifth “Indiana Jones” episode, and the 12th (“Shazam! Fury of the Gods”) and 13th (“The Flash”) movies in DC Extended Universe has disappointed all, especially when compared to their cost.
“In general, the public is interested in more, more, more of the same until they start to get satisfied and excited about the next thing,” Mr. Gross, the cashier, in his Sunday newsletter.