“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” the seventh installment of the American action spy series, presents a formidable challenge to Ethan Hunt, portrayed by Tom Cruise. The antagonist this time isn’t a person, but an advanced computer virus capable of predicting Ethan’s every move, adding a topical twist to the traditional franchise. The impressive longevity of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, lasting over 25 years, is as remarkable as its enduring quality.
Despite being the seventh film, “Dead Reckoning Part One” continues to deliver, showing few signs of the franchise’s age. The “Mission: Impossible” franchise’s success lies in its consistent quality, despite diverse stylistic changes from installment to installment. The film opened to a strong $15.5 million on its first day, including $7 million from Tuesday previews.
Projections suggest a successful opening weekend, with an estimated $60 million expected from Friday to Sunday. The film’s first five days are expected to bring in a total of $85-$95 million in North America and $160 million internationally. Comparisons to the opening of the previous film, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” are challenging due to the different days of release. Despite not historically having massive opening weekends, the franchise tends to enjoy a long and profitable run in theaters.
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” grossed a record $791 million by the end of its theatrical run, proving the series’ enduring appeal. Due to a $290 million budget inflated by pandemic-related costs, “Dead Reckoning Part One” needs to sustain its performance at the box office. The upcoming sequel, “Dead Reckoning Part Two,” could potentially have a lower budget. Director Christopher McQuarrie returned to the helm, marking his fourth contribution to the series.
The film’s plot focuses on Ethan Hunt and his team tackling an all-powerful artificial intelligence, “The Entity.”
The franchise is known for its deft balance of action and suspense, with a Hitchcockian flair. The focus of the franchise has been more on creating suspense than merely showcasing violence, a distinct departure from typical Hollywood action films. Cruise’s star power and dedication to performing his own stunts adds a layer of reality and thrill to the franchise.
In an interesting turn, many of the series’ critical sequences revolve around minimizing casualties, emphasizing the character’s moral code. Despite significant cast changes over the series’ history, Cruise remains the constant, appearing in every film. Before McQuarrie became a regular contributor, the franchise saw a different director for each installment, each adding a unique stylistic touch. The series remarkably balances star power and auteuristic personality, serving as a testament to Cruise’s enduring appeal.
Ethan Hunt may be more of a cipher than a complicated character, but he perfectly embodies Cruise’s commitment to physicality and high-stakes stunt work. Cruise’s willingness to perform increasingly dangerous stunts as he ages creates a palpable sense of urgency and stakes in each new film.