Mission: Impossible by the Numbers

Early word is that Tom Cruise’s latest installment in the very successful “Mission: Impossible” series – itself based on a television show; see my thoughts on that here – is the most exciting in the series. Rather than lose wind as the franchise continues on, it seems to pick up speed. The new films ups the ante on the action and, more intriguingly, the stunts, which have become a hallmark of the series. While the ability to keep the material fresh and relevant is impressive in its own right. The fact that six installments spanning 22 years have managed to bring back its star for each film makes it one of the current longest continuously running franchise (no more than 6 years in between installments) with the same lead. That means that Ethan Hunt has done the impossible many times and along the way racked up several impressive stats.

Year Mission: Impossible debuted on television: 1966

Year of Ethan Hunt’s First Cinematic Mission: 1996

Age of Tom Cruise during his first Mission: 34

Age of Tom Cruise during his newest Mission: 56

Number of films: 6

Number of times Tom Cruise might have died: 12

Known for doing his own stunts, Cruise has taken his life into his hands several times over the life of the series. Each installment ups the ante on the stunt that Cruise is performing, even getting to the point that the in-universe characters poke fun at Hunt’s antics in a “there he goes again” sort of way. The stunts have occasionally caused injury (such as his broken foot jumping out a window in the recent installment) but in this list are his most over-the-top stunts that make insurers cringe.

  • Fish Tank Explosion – “Mission: Impossible,” 1996
  • Langley Break-in – “Mission: Impossible,” 1996
  • Train Chase – “Mission: Impossible,” 1996
  • Rock Climbing – “Mission: Impossible 2,” 2000

  • Motorcycle Joist – “Mission: Impossible 2,” 2000
  • Knife to the Eye – “Mission: Impossible 2,” 2000
  • Bridge Explosion – “Mission: Impossible 3,” 2006
  • Shanghai Roof jumps – “Mission: Impossible 3,” 2006
  • Scaling Burj Khalifa – “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” 2011

  • Airplane takeoff – “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” 2015
  • Underwater prison escape – “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” 2015
  • A.L.O. Jump – “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” 2018

Oscar-caliber Talent: 28 nominations, 6 wins

It takes an impressive amount of talent to carry a film franchise and keep it running strong after over two decades. As such, the Mission: Impossible franchise has boasted 9 Oscar-nominated actors, 3 Oscar-winning actors, and 2 Oscar-winning directors, amongst others. While the series itself has never garnered an Academy Award nomination, that is still an impressive ensemble of accolades for those involved.

Nominees:

  • Tom Cruise (3)
  • Kristin Scott Thomas (1)
  • Laurence Fishburne (1)
  • Jeremy Renner (2)
  • Alec Baldwin (1)
  • Angela Basset (1)

Winners:

  • Jon Voight (4 noms, 1 win)
  • Vanessa Redgrave (6 noms, 1 win)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman (4 noms, 1 win)
  • Brad Bird (Director) (4 noms, 2 wins)
  • Christopher McQuarrie (Director) (1 nom, 1 win)

Total Domestic Gross (excluding Fallout): $934,861,826

With Fallout opening this weekend, that total gross is almost definitely going to be pushed over the $1 billion mark, making it the 21st franchise to achieve that milestone with only 12 franchises achieving it with fewer films than Mission: Impossible. And with strong early word of mouth, it doesn’t seem like this series will self-destruct anytime soon.

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