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Tom Cruise and Paramount Remain Divided on ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ Release Strategy

"Mission: Impossible 7" has been plagued by COVID production delays, an inflated budget, and a stunted theatrical release plan.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT, Tom Cruise, 2018. © Paramount /Courtesy Everett Collection

“Mission: Impossible Fallout”

©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

The real impossible mission? Landing a compromise between Tom Cruise and Paramount Pictures.

In an exposé in The Hollywood Reporter, multiple industry insiders alleged that “Mission: Impossible 7” is now at the center of a distribution battle between lead star and producer Cruise and production company Paramount Pictures.

After multiple COVID-related production delays on “M:I 7,” the studio is setting a 45-day theatrical window for the latest installment in its tentpole franchise before bringing it to Paramount+. Per sources, Cruise is set on a more traditional (but certainly outmoded in 2022) three-month window.

Cruise allegedly has hired a lawyer to come to an agreement with Paramount, but they’re waiting until “M:I 7” is finished to resume negotiations.

“For [Cruise], 45 days is like going day-and-date,” a Paramount source told THR. “He also felt that setting a date when the movie could be seen on the service would discourage people from going to the theater.”

The release date for Christopher McQuarrie’s “M:I 7” has been pushed back four times, with its current premiere set for July 14, 2023. Per THR sources, Cruise is now elongating the production process as a negotiation tactic while simultaneously also working on the eighth (and presumably last) film

The “Mission Impossible” franchise has proven to be a goldmine for Paramount, with 2018’s “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” the highest-grossing movie of the series, accumulating $791.6 million worldwide. The “Mission Impossible” franchise as a whole has grossed over $3.5 billion for Paramount.

“You would make [‘Mission: Impossible’] 7 and 8 even if you had a full slate,” a studio veteran told THR. “They weren’t crazy expensive by the standards of Marvel, of Bond.”

However, “M:I 7” topped a staggering $290 million budget with tax incentives. Sources noted that Cruise has allegedly “persuaded” Paramount Pictures’ new president and CEO Brian Robbins to give “Mission: Impossible” more money to finish the seventh film and make the eighth; production on “M:I 8” is reportedly already underway.

Allegedly, former Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos was ousted in part due to not convincing Cruise to shorten the “M:I 7” theatrical release window ahead of a Paramount+ release.

“Jim was bridging between what [Paramount’s] Shari [Redstone] and [president and CEO] Bob [Bakish] wanted and what Jim felt was the right thing to do,” which was to protect the relationship with Cruise, one source said. “Part of the reason [Jim] is gone is that Shari and Bob thought they could wave a magic wand,” and persuade the star to accept the shortened window, as THR reported. “Tom is so committed to theatrical.”

Paramount declined to comment.

Similarly, sources indicate that Cruise will not see eye to eye with new Paramount CEO Gibbons.

“Tom says what he wants and the studio says what it wants,” an insider said. “And then Tom gets what he asked for.”

And that includes a large budget for “M:I 8,” plus allegedly more money to fund the finishing touches for “M:I 7.”

“M:I 8” is supposed to be released June 28, 2024.

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