Mission: Impossible 7 (and Bond) questions

The trailer for Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One is out. For understandable reasons, fans of the James Bond films are interested.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

Is Tom Cruise’s M:I series ripping off Bond? You might not want to throw bricks from inside a glasshouse.

Live And Let Die evoked “Blaxploitation” films of the early 1970s. The Man With the Golden Gun evoked kung fu films from the same period. Moonraker evoked Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (even using the same musical notes from John Williams’ score from the latter movie). Moonraker also has similarities to the 1966 movie Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die.

So how would you phrase it?

It depends on how well the ideas are executed.

Movie audiences, generally, don’t care about what ideas are borrowed from whom. They care about whether they like the movie or not.

What makes Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible films different from the most recent Bond movies?

The most recent M:I movies (2011, 2015, 2018) are, for the most part, more fun than the Bond installments of the same period. According to Barbara Broccoli, No Time to Die was a “cinematic masterpiece” (source: No Time to Die official podcast).

No Time to Die enthusiasts would agree. Others may or may not say they had a better time viewing the three M:I films of the 2010s.

That’s all a subject for debate. The seventh M:I film won’t be out for more than a year. We’ll see how it goes.

Mission: Impossible 7 trailer officially released

Paramount released the trailer for Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One today after it had leaked out over the weekend.

The trailer for the seventh film in the M:I series starring Tom Cruise contains some homages to James Bond films such as:

–Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt driving a car with its doors knocked off, similar to Daniel Craig’s Bond in Quantum of Solace.

–Cruise/Hunt driving a small yellow car in a chase, similar to Roger Moore’s Bond driving an extremely small car in a chase in For Your Eyes Only.

–A fight on top of a train, with the participants having to duck when approaching tunnels, a la Octopussy.

–Cruise/Hunt riding a motorcycle off a cliff similar to Pierce Brosnan’s Bond in GoldenEye.

The trailer has some striking images, including an Osprey aircraft in flight and a train locomotive going off a cliff.

Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One is scheduled for release next year, with the following installment coming out in 2024. Originally, the two movies were to have been filmed back-to-back. That was before delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The trailer is below.

Mission: Impossible 7 trailer leaks

Tom Cruise

A trailer for Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One leaked for a time on social media before being yanked by Paramount.

A version of the trailer for the movie had been shown last month at CinemaCon. An official trailer hasn’t been released. The existence of the leak was reported by The Hollywood Reporter and other outlets.

A website called The Digital Fix quoted David Ellison, a producer on Top Gun: Maverick and the M:I movie, as saying the trailer will “drop next week.”

The video for the seventh Mission: Impossible film starring Tom Cruise that circulated on social media appears to have homages to the James Bond film series. They include scenes that evoke For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and GoldenEye.

Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One is scheduled for release on July 14, 2023. The eighth film will be released in 2024.

M:I 7 gets a title as part of CinemaCon preview

Tom Cruise

The delayed Mission: Impossible 7 now has a title, Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One, it was revealed during a preview at CinemaCon.

The reveal was reported by various outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline: Hollywood, and Empire. CinemaCon is the convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners. The M:I news was disclosed at a Paramount presentation at the convention.

The seventh and eighth installments of the Tom Cruise M:I film series have been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both movies are directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who also helmed the previous two films in the series.

Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One currently has a July 14, 2023 release date, with the next M:I movie coming on June 28, 2024. Cruise, who turns 60 on July 3, both stars in and produces the M:I films.

More 60th: What was happening in 1962?

Originally published in 2011 and 2012.

Jan. 15: NBC airs “La Strega” episode of Thriller, starring Ursula Andress, female lead of Dr. No, which will be the first James Bond film.

Jan 16: Production begins on Dr. No, modestly budgeted at about $1 million. Fees include $40,000 for director Terence Young and $80,000 each for producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, not counting their share of profits. (Figures from research by film historian Adrian Turner). Star Sean Connery tells Playboy magazine in 1965 that he was paid $16,800 for Dr. No.

Inside Dr. No, a documentary made by John Cork for a DVD release of the movie, says about 10 percent of the film’s budget went to the Ken Adam-designed reactor room set, where the climactic fight between Bond and Dr. No takes place. (Date of production start from research by Craig Henderson’s For Your Eyes Only Web site.

Jan. 17: Jim Carrey is born.

Feb 3: U.S. begins embargo against Cuba.

Feb. 20: John Glenn becomes first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth.

March 2: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points as his Philadelphia Warriors team defeats the New York Knicks 169-147 in a game played in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Chamberlain achieves the feat by scoring 36 baskets and, perhaps most amazingly, by hitting 28 of 32 free-throw attempts. (Chamberlain was a notoriously bad free-throw shooter.) The player averaged 50.4 points per game in the 1961-62 season.

April 16: The Spy Who Loved Me, Ian Fleming’s latest 007 novel, is published. The novel takes a radical departure from previous Bond novels. The story is told in the first person by a female character, Vivienne Michel, with Bond not appearing until two-thirds of the way through the story. Fleming, in his dealings with Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, specifies only the title is to be used for any movie. Broccoli (after Saltzman departs the film series) does just that in the 10th film of the 007 series, which comes out in July 1977.

May (publication date, actually likely earlier): The Incredible Hulk, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, debuts in the first issue of his own comic book.

June 1: Nazi Adolph Eichmann was executed in Israel.

July 3: Future Mission: Impossible movie star Tom Cruise is born.

July 12: Rolling Stones debut in London.

August (publication date actual date probably earlier): Amazing Fantasy No. 15 published, debut of Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, with cover art by Jack Kirby and Ditko.

Aug. 5: Actress Marilyn Monroe dies.

Aug. 6: Michelle Yeoh, who will play Chinese secret agent Wai Lin in the 1997 Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, is born.

Aug. 16: Future Get Smart movie star Steve Carell is born.

Aug. 16: Ringo Starr joins the Beatles.

Sept. 26: The Beverly Hillbillies debuts on CBS. In a later season, Jethro sees Goldfinger in a movie theater and decides that being a “Double-Naught” spy is his life’s calling.

Oct. 1: Federal marshals escort James Meredith, first African American student at the University of Missippi, as he registers at the school.

Oct. 1: Johnny Carson, a few weeks short of his 37th birthday, hosts his first installment of The Tonight Show. He will remain as host until May 1992. At one point during Carson’s run on the show, he and Sean Connery reference how Carson’s debut on Tonight and Connery’s debut as Bond occurred at around the same time.

Oct. 5: Dr. No has its world premiere in London. The film won’t be shown in the U.S. until the following year. The movie will be re-released in 1965 (as part of a double feature with From Russia With Love) and in 1966 (as part of a double feature with Goldfinger).

Oct. 14: A U.S. U-2 spy plane discovers missile sites in Cuba, beginning the Cuban Missile Crisis. The crisis will bring the U.S. and Soviet Union to the brink of World War III.

Oct. 22: President John F. Kennedy makes a televised address, publicly revealing the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Oct. 28: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announces the U.S.S.R. is removing its missiles from Cuba.

Oct. 29: Ian Fleming begins three days of meetings with television producer Norman Felton concerning a show that will eventually be known as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (source: Craig Henderson) Fleming’s main contribution of the meetings is that the hero should be named Napoleon Solo.

Nov. 7: Richard Nixon loses race for governor of California, tells reporters “you won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.” He’ll be back.

Freddie Young and David Lean

Dec. 10: The David Lean-directed Lawrence of Arabia has its world premiere in London. The film’s crew includes director of photography Freddie Young and camera operator Ernest Day, who will work on future James Bond movies. Young will photograph 1967’s You Only Live Twice. Day would be a second unit director (with John Glen) on The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

For a more comprehensive list of significant 1962 events, CLICK HERE.

Cruise’s M:I, like NTTD before it, is in ‘the barrel’

Tom Cruise

Exploding production budgets and release delays stemming (at least in part) to COVID-19. That’s a familiar tale to fans of the cinematic James Bond and No Time to Die.

But, based on a Hollywood Reporter story posted March 24, the scenario is being repeated with Mission: Impossible 7 and 8.

Both projects have been in “the barrel,” something hit by bad luck — bad luck that lasts a long time.

No Time to Die, the 25th Bond film produced by Eon Productions, cost about $300 million to make. The movie incurred five delays, with three because of COVID-19. The other two were because the movie’s original director, Danny Boyle, departed because of “creative differences.”

Originally, Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, starring and produced by Tom Cruise, were to be made back to back.

M:I 7 has been delayed four times, THR noted, with a current release date of July 2023. MI:7 isn’t done yet while work has started on M:I 8, the entertainment news site said.

Here’s an excerpt:

By holding on to the film as a work in progress while working on the eighth, Cruise and his writer-director, Christopher McQuarrie, ensure that Paramount won’t have much luck imposing budget restrictions on what is allegedly the final installment in the franchise. It also gives Cruise — who has creative control — flexibility with respect to the cliffhanger ending of M:I 7.

Cruise’s Mission: Impossible movies have been popular. In the 2010s, there were more M:I installments (2011, 2015, and 2018) than Bond films (2012 and 2015). Some Bond fans point out that some M:I sequences were an homage to Bond. And the M:I films haven’t matched Bond’s global box office.

Regardless, since COVID-19, Cruise’s series has been challenged by the pandemic, as was No Time to Die, finally released in the fall of 2021.

THR reports MI: 7’s budget is at $290 million and counting (in the same territory as No Time to Die).

Another interesting tidbit in The Hollywood Reporter story: Cruise vetoed the idea of Paramount, the studio that releases the M:I movies, coming up with a television spinoff. The idea “was no-go,” THR said.

That sounds similar to how Eon Productions, which makes the Bond film series is resisting Bond spinoffs for streaming television.

Mission: Impossible originated as a TV series made by Desilu in 1966. It became a Paramount property when Lucille Ball sold Desilu to Gulf + Western, then the parent company of Paramount. That transition took place during the 1967-68 season. One week, the end titles had a Desilu logo. The next week, the end titles carried a “Paramount Television” logo.

You can CLICK HERE to read the entire THR story, written by veteran entertainment journalist Kim Masters.

Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 delayed again

Tom Cruise

Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 have been delayed again, The Hollywood Reporter said, citing an announcement by Paramount.

The newest installments of the Tom Cruise spy franchise are now scheduled for July 14, 2023, and June 28, 2024.

The two movies have been delayed multiple times because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both films were directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who helmed the two most recent entries in the series, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible Fallout.

The 355 flops as spy movies struggle to find an audience

The 355 movie poster

The 355, a spy movie with a mostly female cast, flopped over the weekend in its U.S. debut.

The film’s opening U.S. weekend totaled an estimated $4.8 million, according to Exhibitor Relations Co., which tracks box office data. It was the first film of 2022 with a “wide” opening (3,000 screens or more).

The 355 shows it’s hard for spy movies not part of the James Bond or Mission: Impossible films series to get much traction.

At one time (the early 2000s), Jason Bourne was a big success, even prodding Eon Productions to change the tone of its 007 productions and dump Pierce Brosnan in favor of Daniel Craig as Bond. In the mid- to late-2010s, director Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman series, mixing violence and comedy, appeared to be something new.

However, Bourne’s success has been difficult to extend without Matt Damon. In 2016, there was another Bourne entry with Matt Damon (simply titled Jason Bourne). But nothing has happened since then. 2017 saw Atomic Blonde with a global box office of $100 million. However, no sequel resulted. And Matthew Vaughn’s most recent Kingsmen effort, The King’s Man, flopped.

Other spy film attempts have been a mixed bag.

Salt (2010) had a respectable $293.5 million at the global box office but never generated a sequel. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015), (loosely) based on the 1964-68 TV show, had a global box office of $107 million. Hopes for a revived U.N.C.L.E. disappeared.

The Rhythm Section (2020), made by Eon Productions, had a worldwide box office of not quite $6 million. Clearly, the makers of the Bond films weren’t able to duplicate the success of the 007 movies.

We’ll see. Matthew Vaughn has another spy project titled Argylle which will star Henry Cavill (who played Solo in the 2015 U.N.C.L.E. movie).

Hope springs eternal when it comes to spy films.

Competing spy franchises make the rounds at the British GP

Tom Cruise

Representatives of the Mission: Impossible and James Bond film franchises made the rounds at today’s British Grand Prix.

M:I’s star-producer Tom Cruise, 59, was present to root on eventual winner Lewis Hamilton. The F-1 telecast periodically cut to the Mercedes team where Cruise could be seen wearing a mask. The Express and the The Sun (among others) had accounts of Cruise’s day.

Also present was actress Naomie Harris, 44, who plays Moneypenny in the Bond films and acts as unofficial ambassador for the Bond films. The official 007 Twitter feed of Eon Productions took note.

M:I 7-8 director announces casting

Christopher McQuarrie, director of the last two Mission: Impossible movies, is active on social media. He used his Instagram account to announce some casting moves for the seventh and eighth movies in the spy film series.

McQuarrie said Cary Elwes, Mark Gatliss, Indira Varma, Charles Parnell, and Rob Delaney are in the cast of M:I 7 and 8. No details about their roles. The director included head shots. Delaney is wearing a military uniform.

Originally, the two movies were to be filmed back to back. But the Deadline website reported in February that production of M:I 8 has been pushed back while star Tom Cruise promotes Top Gun Maverick.