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Mission: Impossible 7's Record Box Office Dip The Steepest In Series History

"Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One" is not having a good time at the box office. 

In 2022, the media and adoring public rallied behind Tom Cruise as the savior of the theatrical experience. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced cinemas to shutter, several studios and creatives sent their films straight to streaming, leaving cinemas high and dry. But not Cruise, who was adamant to release "Top Gun: Maverick," his long-gestating sequel to the '80s classic "Top Gun" in cinemas. After refusing to send "Maverick" to streaming, the film went on to gross over $1.4 billion in 2022. For Cruise, it emerged as his biggest grosser to date. It became a cultural phenomenon, especially stateside, where it raked in north of $700 million. The entire industry rallied behind the film, and audiences awarded the Joseph Kosinski-directed picture repeat viewings and soon, the film became a Best Picture nominee. 

Without "Maverick" compelling viewers to return to cinemas, it's hard to imagine such a healthy box office where the likes of "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" can succeed. But maybe we all gave Cruise too much credit or, perhaps, we overestimated his goodwill. The action junkie was on track to deliver a double whammy this year with "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One." Seeing as "Maverick" grossed over $1 billion globally, it was fair to suggest that "Dead Reckoning Part One" would at least do half that film's business. Its predecessor, 2018's "Fallout" even managed to squeeze a cume north of $785 million. But as it stands, "Dead Reckoning Part One" will likely struggle to cross $550 million worldwide.

During its second weekend at the box office, "Dead Reckoning Part One" suffered a 65% drop — a franchise worst. And in its third weekend, it lost over 1,000 theatres stateside. Why is this happening to Hollywood's last movie star? 

Dead Reckoning Part One can't handle the competition

After the positive reaction to "Top Gun: Maverick" and the consistent enthusiastic response the "Mission: Impossible" franchise has received, "Dead Reckoning Part One" should have been a bonafide hit at the box office. If "Fallout" legged its way to $786 million worldwide, then "Dead Reckoning Part One" should have at least attempted to touch $1 billion globally. Unfortunately, it looks like the $300 million film won't crack a profit as the film is losing its weight at the box office. This lackluster response at the box office has nothing to do with reviews — critics are raving about the film and audiences awarded it an A CinemaScore.

In a crowded summer, "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One" simply isn't the most appealing option. Paramount Pictures debuted the film on Wednesday, July 12 globally. Previews began the day before, and certain markets received early fan screenings on July 10, essentially giving "Dead Reckoning" a week-long rollout. While there's nothing wrong with this strategy, it was one clearly out of desperation. "Dead Reckoning" debuted to a modest three-day weekend of $54 million, which makes sense, as "Mission: Impossible" films have never relied on opening weekends. These are leggy films — "Fallout" didn't touch $200 million domestically until six weeks into its release. But "Dead Reckoning" has had its legs shattered. 

July 21 saw the release of "Oppenheimer" and "Barbie, or, "Barbenheimer," two films that are gracefully competing with one another. During its second weekend, "Dead Reckoning" only raked in $19.3 million. And as of this writing, "Oppenheimer" and "Barbie" have both outgrossed "Dead Reckoning." Audiences are following the momentum of Christopher Nolan and Greta Gerwig's latest, ignoring Cruise's cinematic crusade with "Dead Reckoning." Now, only a miracle can help save the latest "Mission: Impossible" entry. 

Dead Reckoning Part One is having a poor third weekend

The Numbers says that "Dead Reckoning Part One" brought home $10.7 million during its third weekend — a 45% drop from last week. For comparison, "Fallout" brought home just shy of $20 million during its third weekend. The issue truly is that Paramount Pictures underestimated the competition that was "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer." In a bid to give the film a summer release, they lost out on what could have been their most profitable run this year. His latest "Mission" only received IMAX screens for 10 days, losing them to Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer." While it was said that "Oppenheimer" would lose exclusivity after three weeks, potentially giving "Dead Reckoning" a re-release in the premium format, that likely won't happen. 

Box office analyst Gitesh Pandya (via Twitter) says that "Oppenheimer" will now have IMAX exclusivity for four weeks. Cruise's latest has also lost a number of PLF (Premium Large Format) screens to "Barbie." Can "Mission: Impossible" recover from the competition? It seems doubtful, as audiences are only able to watch the film in regular formats for the time being. And amidst the competition, watching "Mission: Impossible" does not have the same sense of urgency as the likes of "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer." Beyond that, the controversial action-drama "Sound of Freedom" is outperforming "Dead Reckoning" stateside — a move that no one, not even Paramount or Cruise could have predicted. 

The global cume, as of now, stands at $450 million. It seems like "Dead Reckoning Part One" will barely touch $550 million worldwide, which is certainly disappointing, as those who have seen the film adore it. Then again, stranger things have happened. While the momentum behind "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" is there and likely won't stop for a while, it's possible that "Dead Reckoning" could see a resurgence after the double feature hype fades.