The untitled eighth Mission: Impossible film has begun filming, Collider can confirm. But it wasn’t an easy road to get there. The Hollywood Reporter detailed the mammoth task that star Tom Cruise and his director, Christopher McQuarrie, undertook to mount two back-to-back productions at the peak of the pandemic, braving illness, a ballooning budget, and various other setbacks.
THR reports that the still-unfinished Mission: Impossible 7 has already hit a massive $290 million budget, with tax incentives. That’s the highest of the franchise. The report cited sources as saying that Cruise convinced Paramount CEO Brian Robbins to give him more money to finish the seventh and the eighth films, arguing that inflation had driven up costs. The decision to release M:I 7 on the fledgling Paramount+ streaming app 45 days after the film’s theatrical release is said to have caused tensions between Cruise and the studio, with the star reportedly having lawyered up. But he is believed to have let the issue lie until work on the film is finished.
The seventh film began production in Italy, which became one of the first countries in the world to be hit by the initial wave of COVID-19. THR reports that both Cruise and McQuarrie contracted the virus, with McQuarrie ending up in hospital in London.
Since then, numerous set images and videos of the two films’ ambitious action sequences have been shared online, maintaining fan interest in the proceedings. Among the sequences that have been teased, one is set aboard a vintage train, while Cruise reportedly flew a World War II fighter jet for another.
Cruise retains creative control over the franchise, having starred in it for over a quarter-century. The actor first played the iconic spy Ethan Hunt in 1996’s Mission: Impossible, directed by Brian De Palma.
Cruise pulled the series from the brink of obsolescence after the franchise bottomed out with the third installment, which grossed less than $400 million worldwide. The fourth film, directed by Brad Bird, significantly reignited interest and made nearly $700 million worldwide. Each subsequent entry ended up out-grossing the last; Mission: Impossible – Fallout leads the pack with nearly $800 million worldwide.
Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 were originally slated to premiere on September 30, 2022, and July 7, 2023, respectively. The release dates are now July 14, 2023 for Mission: Impossible 7 and June 28, 2024, for Mission: Impossible 8.
M:I 7 features Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson as returning players, while Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, and Cary Elwes will be playing new characters, and Esai Morales will appear as the film’s primary antagonist.