There are a lot of half-full/half-empty thoughts on the opening of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One this weekend, the fullest of which has to be the Certified Fresh 96% on the Tomatometer it has received from critics. That is one point below Fallout, two points ahead of Rogue Nation, and three above Ghost Protocol, and it no doubt helped the new film to squeak out the best five-day start for the series. Over in the emptier column, the numbers are lower than some were hoping for, and the film still faces the same burden as many films this summer in outlasting an enormous budget that was amplified by pandemic fits and starts. That said, this one could have a happier ending than most.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is not only the best-reviewed film of the franchise, but also the highest-grossing, with $220 million domestic and $791 million worldwide. Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation each came in just short of $700 million. But the best five-day start in the series’ 27 year history belonged to John Woo’s Mission: Impossible II ($78.8 million) back in 2000, and it’s still generally considered to be the weakest of the lot. It remains the only entry to receive a Rotten Tomatometer score at 56%. Paramount and analysts pegged Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One for $90 million since its opening Tuesday night, and while the final number is coming closer to $80 million, it still marks the highest five-day start of the franchise. (It’s admittedly lower than Indiana Jones and the Dial Of Destiny’s five-day total of $83.8 million, but that was also boosted by the July 4th holiday.)
That may seem like the ultimate half-empty headline, given that Dead Reckoning’s budget is in the same stratosphere as Indy at $291 million. That’s the third-largest budget of 2023 with Fast X’s $340 million still leading the way. The bottom line suggests that just matching Fallout’s $791 million haul will not be enough to turn a theatrical profit on this one. That has not been a problem for nearly every film in the series (apart from the third entry, which released in the wake of Tom Cruise’s bad PR stretch), which never cost higher than Fallout’s $178 million, but they also did not have constant pandemic shutdowns. Projectors should also be reminded that these films have never had stratospheric openings. Fallout’s $61.2 million has been the film’s highest weekend opening. Dead Reckoning had a $56.2 million weekend, the third-best of the series, and that was with a two-day head start.
Reckoning is likely to begin outpacing Indiana Jones this week, but even with great audience response, it is running into the 1-2 punch of Barbie and Oppenheimer competing for attention next week. Word of mouth has been M:I’s friend, as no film in this series dropped 50% or higher in its second week wince Woo’s film. That could be challenged by its competitors next weekend. Apart from the third film, the lowest final multiple of the series has been 3.51, which would put Dead Reckoning Part One at a floor of $197 million domestically. Unlike Indiana Jones, though, Dead Reckoning has already reached $235 million worldwide, something Indy failed to achieve until after week two. It is still a long way to climb out of the red even as it will likely become one of the highest-grossing films of the year internationally.
Sound of Freedom, the child sex trafficking rescue tale boosted by pre-bought and gifted tickets by political action groups and starring deep QAnon believer Jim Caviezel, grossed $27 million this weekend, reaching $85 million in its first 13 days of release. That is more than Disney/Pixar’s Elemental did in that same timeframe. The animated film made its own $8.7 million in its fifth weekend, a pretty remarkable drop of only 14%, bringing its 31-day total over $125 million (and over $300 million worldwide – or halfway to breaking even). That puts it on a similar domestic path to Kung Fu Panda 3 and Rio, which had $8.8 million and $8.2 million fifth weekends, bringing their first month totals to $128.3 million and $125.2 million, respectively. Each of them finished with $143 million. That is the path currently for both Elemental and Sound of Freedom.
Last week’s winner, Insidious: The Red Door, dropped 60.7% down to $13.0 million. That fall is right in the middle of the franchise, not much higher than The Last Key’s 58% drop but much better than Chapter 2 (65.7%) and Chapter 3 (67.8%). It brings The Red Door’s total to $58 million, which is second to Chapter 2’s 10-day start of $60.1 million and just below that film’s $13.8 million second frame. It is right in line with The Purge: Election Year, which had $58.7 million after 10 days and a $12.3 million second weekend finishing its run with $79.2 million. An $80 million domestic finish is very much in the cards for the $16 million production, which is already in profit thanks to a $100 million global total so far.
Over to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which fell to $12 million. That is almost $11 million less than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did in its third week, when it had reached $246 million in just 17 days. Dial of Destiny is a full $100 million below that, but only $5.1 million below The Perfect Storm’s third weekend of $17.1 million, and it still maintains an $17-18 million lead over that film’s progression, so a final total between $190-200 million domestic is still very possible. That still won’t be anywhere close to turning a profit for this film, but every dollar helps theaters and keeps this summer’s box office on pace to outgross last year’s $3.39 billion total.
Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse continues to add to its summer-leading total with $6 million, bringing its total to over $368 million. It should pass Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 by the end of next weekend and is currently about $8 million off the pace of Spider-Man: Homecoming. But it did double that film’s seventh-weekend $6 million to $2.8 million, which will keep the animated film’s final estimate in the vicinity of $390 million. The studio’s No Hard Feelings grossed $3.4 million in its fourth weekend bringing its total to nearly $46.5 million. The R-rated comedy will join the $50 million club but will miss the more recently vaunted $60 million club. Worldwide it has grossed over $75 million but is going to miss its profit target by over $50 million. Lionsgate’s Joy Ride cost less but unfortunately is not going to be in that conversation, as it fell 57% to just $2.6 million and a 10-day total of only $10.4 million.
Two other studio losers remain in the top 10 as well. Paramount’s Transformers: Rise of the Beasts got itself over $150 million. It’s worldwide total is over $413 million, well short of its profit target. Disney’s The Little Mermaid is making a late push to try and hit the domestic milestone of $300 million. It is less than $7 million away after grossing another $2.2 million this weekend. Worldwide it has made around $550 million. Both films are set to lose somewhere between $85-100 million for their respective studios.
Asteroid City entered the top five on Wes Anderson’s overall gross list. This week it passed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’s $24 million and now sits with $26.3 million after grossing $1.1 million in 713 theaters this weekend. It appears that will be as high as it climbs as it needs to reach $32 million to pass Isle of Dogs to become No. 4 behind The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Moonrise Kingdom.
Searchlight should love the numbers for Theater Camp this weekend. The Certified Fresh comedy from Sundance co-directed by Molly Gordon (known to The Bear fans as “Claire Bear”) and Nick Lieberman grossed over $270,000 in six theaters for the fourth-best per-theater average of the year ($45,000) behind Asteroid City, Beau is Afraid, and Past Lives. The film chosen as the closing night film of this year’s Chicago Critics Film Festival (which yours truly produces) expands to 50 theaters next weekend and hopes to become one of the indie hits of the year. Christian Petzold’s latest film, Afire, opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles and grossed $39,200 for a PTA of $9,800. That is nearly half of what his last film, Undine, grossed during the pandemic in June 2021. His 2014 film, Phoenix, released through IFC Films, grossed $3.1 million.
Barbenheimer is here! For those behind the curve on the mash-up, the most eagerly anticipated movie weekend of the year arrives when Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer both hit theaters on the same day. The organic viral marketing of fans anticipating both movies has been one of the lovelier aspects of a usually divisive social media world. That was disrupted when Warner Bros. decided to make critics choose between press screenings on the same night in most markets. Studios will be counting on positive vibes going forward as they will be unable to trot out their stars to promote the films due to the ongoing strike, but both films are expected to do well.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Paramount Pictures