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For his latest outing, agent Ethan Hunt is being squeezed like never before.
Thanks to Mission: Impossible — Fallout star Tom Cruise’s on-set ankle injury and recuperation, the film’s budget ballooned to a franchise high, making the profit margins even tighter for Paramount and Skydance. The eight-week hiatus pushed Fallout’s final tally to roughly $250 million, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter. The franchise’s previous outing, 2015’s Rogue Nation, cost about $170 million.
But insiders caution that Fallout’s real costs were closer to $180 million given that most of the extra costs associated with the injury will be covered by insurance because Cruise broke his ankle during production.
Star injuries can be costly, often requiring extensive reshoots. In the case of Fallout, there were no reshoots. In fact, the scene in which Cruise broke his ankle made it into the final cut of the film. But Cruise — who also serves as a producer on Fallout — and the studio were determined to keep the prime July 27 release date, and he rehabbed as quickly as possible (by contrast, when Blake Lively injured her hand during production on another Paramount film, Rhythm Section, the film shut down for five months). The biggest added cost for Fallout was paying the cast and crew for the eight-week hiatus so that they wouldn’t take another job. Still, the Fallout team moved efficiently during the hiatus, editing footage that had already been shot in a successful effort to make the original release date stick.
Even at $180 million, the increased budget will put added pressure on Fallout’s box-office performance considering that the Mission: Impossible films have far slimmer margins than Paramount’s Transformers movies. In 2015, Viacom’s earnings dipped, with film studio Paramount taking much of the blame. At the time, analysts noted that Rogue Nation, which earned $683 million worldwide, was successful but not nearly as impressive as 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction ($1.1 billion). Marketing has not been cheap in the run-up to the film’s release, with a campaign that included Paramount buying a pricey Super Bowl spot for Fallout.
In its favor, Fallout is poised to be the best-reviewed of the six-film franchise that began in 1996. It currently boasts a 96 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Christopher McQuarrie directed both Rogue Nation and Fallout, becoming the only helmer to tackle more than one outing. The film — which shot in France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Norway — also is expected to increase its Chinese footprint. Rogue Nation earned a stellar $136 million in the market, a figure that is certain to rise with this outing.
On Monday’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Cruise joked that he fractured his ankle doing an “easy” maneuver on the Fallout set last summer.
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