‘Mission’ accepted by exhibs

ShoWest Brief

“Mission: Impossible 3” producer Paula Wagner and surprise ShoWest guest J.J. Abrams, the pic’s helmer, tried to drum up exhib enthusiasm for the summer’s first skedded tentpole.

Two scenes — one featuring the first face-to-face meeting between stars Tom Cruise and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and an action sequence — were the first major studio product to be shown off in Las Vegas.

A lot is riding on the third installment of the spy franchise. Paramount is hoping for its first big hit under Brad Grey’s regime, while the industry as a whole is hoping a big opening on May 5 will kickstart a better summer season than last year’s.

Abrams, who makes his feature debut with the pic, played to the exhib crowd, concluding, “We want this movie to be shown at your theaters, not to be seen at home.”

Wagner said, “Thank you for playing our trailer, thank you for putting up our displays, thank you for promoting our film, so we can continue to make blockbusters that bring people out.”