Dead Reckoning: Can it Recover at Box Office after Barbenheimer Setback?

Hollywood is rocked by unexpected new arrivals, Barbie and Oppenheimer.

by Nouman Rasool
Dead Reckoning: Can it Recover at Box Office after Barbenheimer Setback?

The Tom Cruise-starring action series witnessed a significant downturn with its seventh installment, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, suffering a franchise record dip of 64% in the box office. This happened amidst an unexpected surge in audience preference for new arrivals, 'Barbie' and 'Oppenheimer', which seem to have created a cultural sensation and led the domestic box office to unprecedented heights.

Tom Cruise, who was hailed as the savior of the box office following the global success of Top Gun: Maverick, generating $1.5 billion in global ticket sales, now finds himself grappling with a new challenge, the Barbenheimer effect.

His latest Mission: Impossible installment fell to a mere $19.5 million in its second weekend against the popularity of Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Unprecedented Box Office Boom

The historic weekend of July 21-23 saw remarkable revenue, ranking as the fourth largest of all time.

This was the first occasion where two movies, Barbie with $155 million and Oppenheimer with $80.5 million, opened to record-breaking figures simultaneously. Hollywood was not prepared for such an incredible turnout. Dead Reckoning Part One, the seventh film in the enduring Mission: Impossible series, wrapped the weekend with a total domestic collection of $118.8 million.

This fell short of its projected earnings of $25 million for its second weekend. Now, the question on everyone's lips is whether Dead Reckoning can stabilize and repeat the long-run success of other installments in the series.

This query is more pronounced considering Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick's long-term box office performance. Despite this stumble, Hollywood executives are yet to rule out Dead Reckoning, particularly as it holds a superior Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score compared to Barbie and Oppenheimer, and boasts strong audience exit scores.

The Mission: Impossible series has never experienced stellar openings, but the expectations were sky-high for Dead Reckoning following Top Gun: Maverick's successful debut with $160.5 million over Memorial Day weekend in 2022.

Adding to its credit, Dead Reckoning Part One has performed impressively in the international market, keeping up with the franchise trend of earning a substantial portion of their global gross from foreign box office sales.

It brought in an additional $55 million from 72 markets in its second weekend, making a global total of $370.9 million as of Sunday. Mission: Impossible 7 faced additional challenges in the form of losing Imax screens for three weeks to Oppenheimer, and premium large-format screens to both Oppenheimer and Barbie.

Cruise's latest endeavor, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, came with a hefty production cost of nearly $300 million and faced several release date shifts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was initially set for summer 2021, later postponed to 2022, and finally made its way to the screens in mid-July 2023.

However, the competition is still fierce. The faith-based political thriller Sound of Freedom from Angel Studios is another contender giving Dead Reckoning a run for its money, with a weekend earning of $20.1 million, according to Comscore.

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two is scheduled to hit theaters on June 28, 2024. As the production is currently halted due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, it adds another layer of uncertainty to the future of this renowned action franchise.

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