Weekend Report: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONE Opening Lighter than Expected with Estimated $78M 5-Day Domestic Start

Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures and Skydance

Paramount reports this Saturday morning that Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One earned $16.55 million on Friday, bringing the three-day domestic haul to $40.35 million. The studio’s projected three-day weekend (Friday through Sunday) is $54.2 million, for an overall five-day start of $78 million.

While those numbers could climb slightly higher on the back of strong audience reception (94 percent) and critics’ scores (96 percent) on Rotten Tomatoes, combined with the natural weekend-friendliness of the two-hour-and-forty-three-minute film, the overall landing point will still fall short of forecasts and the studio’s own $90 million five-day expectation earlier in the week.

Domestically, Reckoning‘s results continue an unfortunate trend in the wake of The Flash and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. This marks three consecutive films aimed at adult men which have each fallen short of tracking and overall potential despite generally positive (and outright strong, in Mission‘s case) reception.

A host of factors could be to blame, each of them as debatable as the next:

  • A five-year gap between Mission films has kept the franchise out of the public consciousness after rebounding with three movies in a seven-year span between 2011 and 2018.
  • The film’s runtime and “Part One” designation could be pointed to as deterrents that softened the assumed event status of the film, particularly on the tails of Cruise’s box office phenom in Top Gun: Maverick last year which does not yet appear to have aided this franchise in the way many expected.
  • The Mission franchise may simply have aged to a point where the target audience portion of the modern moviegoing base is shrinking as younger generations come of age and drive the box office.
  • Relative scarcity of premium screens may be diminishing the upfront business of the film as consumers hold out for good seats in IMAX, Dolby, and the like. That could become a long-term issue when Reckoning loses those screens to Oppenheimer and other films in the weeks ahead.
  • This summer has seen studios cram too many films catering to the adult male audience into a tight space beginning with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse in June, leading into Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the aforementioned Flash and Indiana Jones, and the forthcoming Oppenheimer — which is currently outpacing all of the above (excluding Spider-Verse) and Mission itself, in pre-sales. Some cannibalization is hard to argue against at this point.
  • While less relevant to younger-skewing films, the inability for actors and filmmaking talent to promote films like Mission this summer due to the ongoing writers’ strike could also be partly to blame as older-skewing segments of media like late night talk shows haven’t been part of the usual marketing cycle.

This isn’t necessarily a definitive breakdown of reasons why Mission is the latest film to underperform industry expectations and long range tracking, but it’s a starting point to digest as we now see how the film’s legs perform. Historically, the franchise burns a long fuse. The hope is that will be true again, even against Oppenheimer and the forthcoming Barbie, given Reckoning‘s strong reception thus far.

On the international front, the seventh Impossible chapter added $25.8 million on Friday from 70 markets. That brings the non-domestic tally to $82.1 million. Highlighted markets include China ($7.4 million opening day Friday) and the United Kingdom ($7.2 million total with Friday’s $2.1 million).

The studio will provide an updated global projection on Sunday.

Meanwhile, back on the domestic front, Angel Studios’ Sound of Freedom continues to impress with another $7.04 million estimated on Friday. That figure and a projected $23.09 million second weekend are provided via industry sources outside of Angel. A stronger-than-forecast second place showing is in the cards for the weekend.

Rounding out the top five yesterday:

  • Insidious: The Red Door added $4.15 million for an eight-day haul of $49.2 million. It’s eyeing a studio-estimated $12.65 million sophomore frame.
  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny earned $3.3 million for an updated tally of $136.66 million as it looks to be heading for around $12 million this weekend.
  • Elemental took in another $2.52 million, bringing it to $119.2 million. It should pull around $8.3 million for the frame.

Updated studio estimates will follow on Sunday, followed by actuals on Monday.

Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures and Skydance

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