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Dirk Libbey

Paramount Exec Admits To Tense Moments With Tom Cruise And Christopher McQuarrie As Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Sequence Went Way Over Budget

tom cruise in mission: impossible - dead reckoning part one

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One was probably always going to be a pretty expensive movie to make. But due to the fact that it was the first major tentpole film to shut down when the pandemic started, it began shooting while covid restrictions were at their most significant and the movie had to shut down multiple times due to outbreaks. Its budget became a somewhat impressive $300 million, which resulted in a clash between Tom Cruise, director Christopher McQuarrie, and Paramount over costs.

Last year, during the production of Mission: Impossible 7 it had been reported that Tom Cruise was in “crisis talks” over the production’s budget. Due to the slow pace of production that was necessitated by covid, the movie had reportedly cost a lot more than planned. But Cruise and company still wanted to produce a movie on par with the previous entries. In a new piece in Variety, Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins admits that he clashed with Cruise and McQuarrie over the budget of the movie, saying…

Let’s just say that the studio and the production and Tom were in a disagreement over direction, and there was a stalemate going on. We had to hit the pause button. They were stuck on how they were going to move forward with ‘Dead Reckoning Part Two’ while finishing ‘Part One.’

The issue at hand, as had been reported, revolved around the submarine sequence which opens Dead Reckoning - Part One. Apparently, that sequence had originally been slated to be part of Dead Reckoning - Part Two, but while filming was going on, Cruise and McQuarrie decided it needed to be in the first movie. 

This would, of course, result in a significant bump to the cost of the first film, and while it might have resulted in a drop to the budget in the sequel, that wasn't necessarily a big help, due to the way the financing deal between production patterns Paramount and Skydance was structured. Paramount was on the hook for a lot of Dead Reckoning Part One's $300 million budget and Robbins explained that the additional costs needed to be justified. He continued… 

It was a production issue, and it was about the scope of what was being asked for. And the question we needed to ask was do we need this and why? And then how big is it going to be, and how long is that going to take?

In the end, Cruise and McQuarrie were clearly successful, as the submarine sequence is in the movie. Although, it’s possible that the sequence is smaller than originally envisioned or that other concessions were made in order to keep the cost down in order to get Paramount to sign off. 

But the movie’s box office shows why this was such an important issue. While Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One had a solid opening weekend and has made $450 million at the global box office, it hasn't been a runaway hit domestically, and thus the movie’s significant budget is coming into play. While a $450 million box office take would be a big win for a lot of movies, the fact that the number barely covers the production budget, and doesn’t include additional costs like marketing, means it will be that much harder for the new Mission: Impossible to actually turn a profit. 

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