Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning will drop Part I from its title when the film debuts on Paramount+ on January 25.
While Paramount quietly dropped Part I from the title with little fanfare, the decision comes after the film underperformed at the box office. The film was set to be potentially the second to last Mission Impossible film starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. But the franchise’s seventh film didn’t do well at the box office compared to the prior film, grossing $565.7 million at the global box office, which wasn’t enough to overcome its massive pandemic-era budget. Still, the film became the tenth highest-grossing film of 2023.
Part of the reason for the film’s low turnout in theaters stems from stiff summer competition, in particular from Barbie and Oppenheimer, which both opened nine days after Dead Reckoning and became a cultural phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer.” Cruise’s latest film was highly regarded by critics, and this was to be one of the franchise’s most ambitious projects as it set up the plot to bid farewell to the titular character.
Ultimately, this doesn’t change Paramount’s plans for a second film to resolve the cliffhanger left at the end of Dead Reckoning. But removing the Part I suggests the next film will have its own title and distance itself from its underperforming predecessor. Film fans are also less excited about duologies, save for mega franchise movies like Avengers: Endgame, which set the film up for a rough start. A two-part film as part of a lengthy seven-film franchise billed as a potential swan song for Cruise might have been asking too much.
On January 10, Cruise signed a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery to develop and produce a slate of new films, which means he won’t be able to spend as much time at Paramount, which owns the Mission: Impossible films. There were rumors he would step back from this role after the sequel came out, but last July, Cruise said he plans to keep playing the character and “never wants to stop.”
In an interview with Sydney Morning Herald, Cruise was asked if he’d like to continue making Mission Impossible movies when he’s 80 and continue his franchise like action star Harrison Ford with Indiana Jones.
“Harrison Ford is a legend; I hope to be still going,” said Cruise. “I’ve got 20 years to catch up with him. I hope to keep making Mission: Impossible films until I’m his age.”
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning was meant to be an ambitious entry into the franchise, the first two-part entry complete with their own death-defying stunts from Cruise. The first film follows Ethan Hunt and the IMF team as they track down a new weapon that threatens humanity. The team faces off against an all-powerful rogue artificial intelligence known as the Entity. Ethan is forced to put the mission above everything else, even the lives of those he cares about most.
The film was directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who co-wrote the screenplay with Erik Jendresen. It stars Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Mariela Garriga, and Henry Czerny.
Production for Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning was postponed during the 2020 COVID-19 shutdowns. Filming for the sequel was delayed due to the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes in 2023 and is scheduled to be released in theaters on May 23, 2025.