Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One headed to the theaters in 2023 with hopes of recapturing the box office magic of Mission: Impossible - Fallout and Top Gun: Maverick. Despite what would traditionally be a decent turnout, the movie failed to reach the same heights of its Tom Cruise predecessors. As a result, the franchise has decided to pivot, and retitle some of its movies. And that doesn’t exactly make sense when you think about how these films are made.
According to Variety, Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One will now just be titled "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning" when it joins the rest of the M:I films and becomes available for Paramount+ subscribers. The upcoming Mission: Impossible film, which will be the eighth film in the franchise, was previously expected to be titled Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part Two. But now is going to have a different title to reflect the name change of M:I 7. This seems to be an attempt at separating the two movies in hopes of M:I 8 's box office having higher returns than Dead Reckoning Part One.
The financial motivations are understandable in some sense, however I think viewing Dead Reckoning Part One as a “failure” or “unsuccessful” is misleading. The production costs on the film were astronomical, much of which were inflated due to filming taking place in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The costs of labor and testing made the M:I 7 budget balloon, and trying to top that number at the box office was almost, well mission impossible. In addition, M:I 7 was the victim of an unfortunate release date, as the movie came out the weekend before the "Barbenheimer" phenomenon, which had movie goers showing up in droves to see two different films last summer. Ultimately Mission: Impossible 7 ended up grossing over a half a billion dollars worldwide, and was one of the highest grossing films of 2023. In any other context, this would be considered a major success.
The studios feel like the "Part Two" title will alienate new audiences, but the title change doesn’t make a lot of sense considering the progression of the Mission: Impossible films. While there are some threads that link the films together, like the characters and tone, each film captures a different mission, with the endings having conclusions to each mission. The movies famously begin with Ethan Hunt receiving a call to action and end with a mission accomplished.
However, the end of Dead Reckoning Part One is a cliffhanger, and suggests that the mission will be solved in M:I 8. Removing the “Part Two” feels misleading, and will likely be confusing for new viewers. In addition, M:I 7 and M:I 8 were filmed at the same time, further linking them together as a singular mission. No announcements about plot changes have been announced to separate the two films from each other, so altering the titles just feels like an odd choice for the franchise. What is the point of attracting new viewers if Mission: Impossible 7 is essential viewing for the next installment?
No matter how confusing, the decision to retitle M:I 8 seems like a done deal, so fans will just have to wait and see if the new title accurately reflects the content contained in the upcoming film. It will be an exciting movie regardless, and is much anticipated considering it may be the last Tom Cruise-led Mission: Impossible film. We will likely have to wait until 2025 to see M:I 8, as it was recently removed from the 2024 movie release schedule. However, Mission: Impossible may just be our last great action franchise, so I’m sure it’ll be well worth the wait.