Tom Cruise’s seventh globe-trotting journey as Ethan Hunt will be called “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”
Paramount Pictures revealed the tentpole’s official title during its Thursday presentation at CinemaCon, the annual trade show for theater owners. Cruise, who is usually a regular presence at the convention in Las Vegas, wasn’t in attendance. Though in fairness, he attended last year’s CinemaCon to talk up the death-defying stunts in “Mission: Impossible 7” before the movie’s release date was pushed back by a year due to COVID-19. At that time, he was most excited about driving a motorcycle off a cliff in Norway, an antic he called “far and away the most dangerous thing I’ve attempted.”
Audiences got a sneak preview of that anxiety-inducing moment — and more — in the high-stakes trailer, which hasn’t been made available to the public. His stunts have gotten so outrageous that everyone in the room laughed when Ethan Hunt nose dives off a cliff while on his motorcycle and then free-falls into the abyss. General audiences will be able to watch the teaser in front of “Top Gun: Maverick,” which hits theaters on May 27.
Though plot details for “MI7” are mostly ambiguous, Hunt and his team of operatives are again faced with an existential threat. The trailer was stuffed with action-packed footage, including vintage-looking trains flying off tracks, deadly emerald-colored clouds of biochemical weapons, and plenty of brutal street combat.
“You’re fighting to save an ideal that doesn’t exist…. never did,” Henry Czerny’s character Eugene Kittridge, the former director of the IMF, tells Hunt. “You need to pick a side.”
Since he was not at Caesars Palace, Cruise sent along a pre-recorded video that was basically unintelligible because the actor was hanging from an airplane. “Please enjoy,” he told the audience. “And hey! Let’s try to have a great summer.”
Cruise loomed large over Paramount’s three-hour presentation; the studio devoted nearly the entire time to screening his other high-profile blockbuster, “Top Gun: Maverick,” a sequel to the 1986 action adventure. Thursday’s screening marks the first time a wide audience will see the movie, which is going to the Cannes Film Festival next month.
Christopher McQuarrie returns to direct “Mission: Impossible – 7” after steering the franchise’s fifth and sixth installment — 2015’s “Rogue Nation” and 2018’s “Fallout.” The latter became the highest-grossing entry in the long-running series, grossing nearly $800 million at the global box office.
The “Mission: Impossible” films have grossed over $3.5 billion at the worldwide box office since 1996. The popular spy series hit a low with 2006’s “Mission: Impossible III,” which generated only $398 million worldwide. But Cruise successfully revived the property with 2011’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” which earned $695 million globally and stood as the top-earning entry until “Fallout” was released.
Along with Cruise, who once again stars as an IMF agent known to occasionally hang off airplanes and skyscrapers, “MI” veterans Ving Rhames, Henry Czerny, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby and Frederick Schmidt will also return. Newcomers to the franchise include Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Esai Morales, Rob Delaney, Charles Parnell, Indira Varma, Mark Gatiss and Cary Elwes.
“MI7,” which has been delayed several times during the pandemic, is scheduled to open in theaters on July 14, 2023. “Dead Reckoning Part Two,” as it will presumably be called, is set to be released on June 28, 2024.