Tom Cruise is taking the unusual step of personally getting studio executives on the phone as he tries to secure a longer run on premium screens for his upcoming action thriller Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One.
The 60-year-old actor and daredevil — whom Steven Spielberg credited with ‘saving Hollywood’s a**’ with Top Gun: Maverick — is using all of the clout he has accrued over the years to convince executives to shorten the three-week exclusive run on IMAX screen’s that Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Oppenheimer currently has, according to Puck.
Mission: Impossible 7 is currently scheduled for a July 12 release, which is two days earlier in the week than usual.
It will have full use of premium IMAX screens throughout the next week, until Oppenheimer takes over and gets a three-week exclusive run at all IMAX screens, a privilege that is virtually unheard of for the kind of adult drama that Nolan has reportedly made.
However, the 52-year-old Dark Knight director is also an acolyte and booster of IMAX film cameras, which use large-format film and create sharper images and more vibrant colors than most traditional formats, so it makes sense that he would get the benefits of an extended run in the premium theaters.
Getting personal: Tom Cruise, 60, has been calling up studio execs in hopes of kicking Oppenheimer off some IMAX screens in favor of Mission: Impossibly 7, or replacing the Barbie movie on other premium formats, Puck reported on Thursday; seen in February
Taking over: Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer opens on July 21, just a week and a half after Mission: Impossibly 7. It will then kick the Cruise film off IMAX screens for an exclusive three-week run; still from Oppenheimer
Nolan can also claim dibs on the release date, as Universal put Oppenheimer on the calendar back in 2021 when he began filming, whereas M:I 7 was repeatedly pushed back — at one point to accommodate Cruise’s other film Top Gun: Maverick — and only later landed on its July 12 opening date.
Sources told Puck’s Matthew Belloni that Cruise ‘expressed his extreme displeasure’ that he apparently wasn’t able to get Universal to budge on Oppenheimer’s exclusive IMAX window.
He has a financial motive to get M:I 7 into premium theaters, as they charge higher ticket prices and can add millions to the grosses of a high-profile film.
According to Puck, $110 million of Top Gun: Maverick’s astounding $1.49 global grosses came from IMAX screenings alone, and hundreds of millions more came from other premium formats including Dolby Cinema theaters and immersive 4DX theaters.
Many fans are already snapping up tickets for opening week IMAX screenings of Oppenheimer.
It’s a priority for Nolans fans and cinephiles in general, as he shot the entire film in IMAX format, and he relied on the rare IMAX film cameras, instead of the more common digital cameras.
By contrast, M:I 7 and most other films that use the technology only shoot it for certain action scenes.
Although most films are now shot with digital cameras, Nolan has continued to use celluloid film, which he and many film buffs consider to be higher quality and more visually pleasing. It also is easier to preserve than digital film files, which require regularly updated technology.
Extreme measures: It’s practically unheard of for a star to directly call execs and exhibitors to bump another film. Cruise was previously lauded for ‘saving Hollywood’s a**’ with Top Gun: Maverick by Steven Spielberg; still from M:I 7
Champion: Nolan has long been a booster for IMAX and he shot Oppenheimer exclusively on IMAX 70mm film, which helped him to get such a long run in the premium theaters; Nolan (center) seen on set with Cillian Murphy (R)
M:I 7 will almost certainly gross more than Oppenheimer, but its earnings potential could be cut by tens — if not hundreds — of millions without more access to pricier IMAX screens.
An IMAX representative confirmed to IndieWire that the company was committed to Nolan’s three-week run on its screens with Oppenheimer.
In addition to his seemingly unsuccessful bid to bump Oppenheimer from IMAX screens, Cruise has also been petitioning exhibitors to give more screens from other premium formats to M:I 7.
If he’s successful, it make frustrate viewers who have been excitedly planning opening weekend double features of both Oppenheimer and Warner Bros.’ Barbie movie, which is directed by Greta Gerwig.
Warner Bros. used to be Nolan’s regular home, but after he left over disagreements about WB’s plans to release Tenet on HBO Max at the same time as in theaters, which may have robbed it of much of its box office grosses, the studio opted to slate its Barbie film on the same opening weekend as Oppenheimer.
That has led to a string of memes about how boys will see Oppenheimer while girls go to see Barbie, though many film fans are equally excited about the two auteur-driven big-budget films.
It’s unclear yet how successful Cruise will be in breaking up Oppenheimer and Barbie’s lock on premium screens, or if he will devastate any couples who can’t get tickets to their desired double feature on opening weekend.
The actor has even gone so far as to ask his rival studios to push back their films’ release dates in an attempt to let all of the films earn to their full potential.
However, the studios will almost certainly not comply with such a request, and it doesn’t appear that he or Paramount have any plans to push back M:I 7 to give it an uncrowded marketplace.
Raining on their parade: Cinephiles and film buffs are already planning open-weekend double features of Barbie (pictured) and Oppenheimer, though Cruise may dash those plans if he’s successful
Don’t lift by yourself! At just under three hours, Oppenheimer is Nolan’s longest film. Full prints of the large-format IMAX film run for an astounding 11 miles and weigh around 600lbs
The controversy over Oppenheimer’s screen lock comes after Variety reported that the film had earned Nolan his first R rating since his 2002 thriller Insomnia, which starred Al Pacino and the late Robin Williams.
The Associated Press reported that Oppenheimer is his longest film, at just under three hours, which makes the larger-format IMAX prints an incredible 11 miles long from end to end, and the stock weighs around 600lbs all together.
Cillian Murphy stars in Nolan’s film as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist credited as the ‘father of the atomic bomb,’ which was later dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki toward the end of World War II.
Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek and Kenneth Branagh are also featured in the film.