Ethan Hunt is used to dangling by a thread, but the ongoing actors’ strike has put the fictional character’s future in freefall. On Monday, Paramount Pictures shifted the official release date for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 2 from June 28, 2024 to May 23, 2025. The decision to update the release schedule follows months of industry turmoil as studios grapple to come to terms with the ongoing actors’ strike.
The new Mission: Impossible film was slated for the traditional early summer blockbuster spot, however, lengthy delays to production halted progress in July. In response, director Christopher McQuarrie and franchise star Tom Cruise embarked on a monster global promotional tour, taking the entire cast along for an extensive marking blitz.
The campaign was largely a success, with Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1, the eighth in the long-running franchise, grossing USD$567.5 million worldwide, falling short of the USD$791.7 million achieved by 2018’s Fallout. Much of this can be chalked up to an inflated release calendar that included Greta Gerwig’s smash hit Barbie and the Christopher Nolan epic Oppenheimer, and to a lesser extent, Cruise himself. Just last year, the 60-year-old screen legend was commended for ‘saving cinema’ with his high-octane action blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, pouring thousands back into the soft plush seats of the movie theatre.
The result has sparked a revival in the cinema sector, ultimately birthing the Barbenheimer wave, which Cruise’s new Mission: Impossible title didn’t quite have the luck of riding. That being said, the fan reactions to the 163-minute action epic were favourable and critics lauded Cruise’s performance as the perpetually doomed IMF agent as ‘breath-taking’.
For the upcoming release, a delay signifies that the challenges of an unsatisfied labour force have yet to be addressed. As the current actors’ strike closes in on three months of work stoppage, industry bodies are still no closer to brokering a deal, and the Mission: Impossible postponement is just the beginning.
A number of upcoming releases are facing similarly lengthy delays, including Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Part Two. The Timothee Chalamet sci-fi adventure was the first major Warner Bros. release to get pushed back to 2024, with the epic sequel now slated for March 15, while the recently announced Austin Butler/Tom Hardy motorcycle gang story The Bikeriders has been reslated for a winter release in North America.
Even Disney hasn’t been able to escape the situation, with Reuters reporting that a vast number of upcoming projects have been rescheduled to account for the impact of the strike. Deadpool 3 has shifted from September 6, 2024 to November 8, 2024, Fantastic Four is now in for February 14, 2025, and Avengers: Secret Wars won’t officially release until May 1, 2026.
According to the Associated Press, negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the studios are set to resume on Tuesday. At present, there has been no update on the progress of a deal between the two parties, which appear locked in a tight tussle.
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