Jun 25, 2010

Tradecraft: Will Knight & Day Box Office Affect M:I-4?

Bear in mind: this is only speculation.  There doesn't seem to be anything definite to this story, but Deadline has raised the possibility that this weekend's box office performance of Tom Cruise's latest spy movie, Knight and Day, might somehow affect the actor's next spy movie, Mission: Impossible 4.  The box office prognosis for the film doesn't look good; apparently the film took in just $3.8 million dollars on its opening night Wednesday.  Personally, I don't understand this, because I think the marketing campaign has been pretty great.  The posters and the trailers all look fantastic to me.  But perhaps Cruise's off-screen personality has finally caught up with his box office.  Anyway, Deadline's Mike Fleming reports that Paramount executives will be watching Knight and Day's box office very closely this weekend.  In some spectacularly bad timing, it's the same weekend they'll be reading the latest script for Mission: Impossible 4, which has just been turned in by Alias writers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec.  While the alarmist possibility that the studio will scrap the next franchise entry altogether seems highly unlikely (although it is yet another reason to go see Knight and Day this weekend, I suppose), Fleming floats another intriguing prospect: "I'm hearing the most likely course of action is for the studio to beef up the subplot that introduces a new and younger agent who becomes Hunt's protege. The studio could then turn the franchise into more of a two-hander than the Mission: Impossible films traditionally have been."

Here's an even better suggestion, Paramount: look to the TV show.  Instead of just making it a "two-hander," make it a team movie, the way the show was.  That's what Mission: Impossible should be!  And J.J. Abrams started to take it in that direction with the introduction of characters played by Maggie Q and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.  (We still haven't heard any word on whether any of those characters will return for the next installment.)  But at least a two-hander is a step in the right direction.  I do hope that the studio doesn't interfere too much, though, with whatever producer Abrams and director Brad Bird have cooked up for M:I-4.  They're two of the most creative people in the business, and I can't wait to see what they've got in store for Ethan Hunt.


Cunningham said...

I agree with your team assessment, and would go further saying that we should never know exactly what's going on inside the heads of our characters in the MI series.

This show is not a whodunnit, but a "Howtheygonnadoit" with clues for the audience along the way and a big wrap up (with a twist) along the way.

De Palma allowed us inside Ethan Hunt's head in the first movie, and Woo totally disregarded the MI structure. MI:3 and Abrams brought us closer to the original story paradigm, but dammit it's time for someone to come to the table and give us a 'classic yet updated' MI:4.

Le Drugstore 1968 said...

I've spent the last couple of days looking over your great blog, and I'm totally impressed! Having been a BIG fan of spy films, it's a real treat to read your blog. I saw "Knight and Day" Wednesday morning and had a great time at the theater. Though, not much can be said of the thin plot, the action and chemistry of the two actors was pretty entertaining. It really was, what "The Killers" should have been, but being a spy fan I did enjoy both. I really think the 4th "Mission Impossible" film need to acknowledge the TV show's roots a little more and make it a group mission, rather than just a Cruise vehicle. Though I really enjoy the past Mission Impossible films, I'd still like to see the film adapt a little more from the source material. It's kind of like how I feel about the Daniel Craig Bond films. Great films, but I want to see Daniel Craig pull off the suave, gentleman secret agent, after watching 2 films of a thug in training.

Tanner said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. Cunningham, I agree absolutely. I still think the best venue for M:I is television, and I wish Paramount would revive the franchise in that medium for our Burn Notice/Leverage era rather than insisting on movies. But as long as they do, I think you've got the right idea of where they should head. Knowing what a big fan Brad Bird is of Sixties pop culture, I'm hopeful that he's sympatico. Abrams did some of what you talk about with that early Vatican sequence in M:I:III at least.

Welcome, Le Drugstore! I'm glad you like the blog. I'm also glad to hear you liked Knight & Day; I can't wait to see it!

Delmo said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the film. Might give it a second watch to help its bottom line. Awaiting your review, Tanner.

Steffi said...

Thank you for posting such a useful, impressive and a wicked article./Wow.. looking good!

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