‘Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part I’ Gets 20-Minute Sneak Preview Set in Rome

CinemaCon 2023: Paramount will move the film’s release up to a midweek launch on July 12

Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part I"
Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I" (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Attendees at CinemaCon got to see an extended sneak preview Thursday of “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning” with a brand new car chase through the streets of Rome.

In addition, Paramount announced that it would move the release of the film up two days to July 12, showing the studio’s immense confidence in the film. Universal made a similar move with “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” that paid off with a $146 million extended opening weekend.

In a 20-minute preview, we see Hayley Atwell playing a woman named Grace as she is interrogated in Rome by the Carabineri about multiple passports with her face and various aliases and the “powerful enemies” she has made. When the cops get a call that her “lawyer” has arrived, the lead investigator is attacked by the leader of a mysterious organization (Esai Morales) who knows everything about him.

Meanwhile, Grace meets her “lawyer,” who is none other than Ethan Hunt. He knows about a mysterious key that Grace left in the coat pocket of an unknowing man. He also knows that Grace has quietly been living a life of crime as a thief and wants to know about a mysterious contact who hired her to steal the key and deliver it to someone in Venice.

But before they can speak further, Grace manages to slip away from Ethan, and another “M:I” chase scene is on in the Eternal City. Grace steals a police car while Ethan gives chase on a motorcycle.

But the chase doesn’t last long as Grace, not used to these sorts of things, crashes into a car filled with henchmen from Esai Morales’ evil organization. With Grace wanted both by the evil org and the authorities, she and Ethan make their escape again, but not before Ethan handcuffs himself to Grace to make sure she doesn’t get away this time.

Of course, handcuffs sort of make it hard to drive through narrow Roman streets with armed mooks. Grace tries to handle it, but eventually orders Ethan to take the wheel. The two find a side street to switch cars, but instead of getting a Ferrari, Ethan and Grace get a tiny Fiat 500 with a supercharged engine under the hood.

The chase resumes as Ethan is forced to drive down the famous Spanish Steps through dozens of tourists, even rolling the Fiat end-over-end with Grace landing in the driver’s seat. Grace spins and drives in circles as Ethan frantically yells out directions and helps her evade the cops. As the sneak preview ends, Ethan and Grace find themselves seemingly cornered before Ethan puts the car in reverse with a wild plan in mind.

Steven Spielberg publically crowned Cruise as the man who saved movie theaters, and he wasn’t entirely off. Yes, strong performances by “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” “A Quiet Place Part II” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” offered reasons for hope in 2021, but the success of “Top Gun: Maverick” was also tied to the kind of older, irregular moviegoers whom many thought had been lost to streaming forever. The film’s blow-out success rippled over the summer, helping to raise interest and awareness in adult-skewing films like “Elvis,” “Where the Crawdads Sing” and “Bullet Train.”

Five years ago, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” was coming off two much-liked predecessors and a star who had mostly burnished his comparatively damaged off-screen reputation, variables that led to a $220 million domestic and $792 million global total.

That was, sans inflation, a global record for Cruise — “War of the Worlds” grossed $235 million/$595 million in 2005. In the summer of 2018, it was considered a positive development that the real-world, practically-crafted action thriller was competitive against superheroes and dinosaurs. This year? Christopher McQuarrie’s actioner is among those pegged to be one of the biggest earners of the summer.

Is that likely? The “Top Gun” bump may only send the relentless spectacle, one likely to end on a downer cliffhanger, so high here and abroad. But after the miracle that Cruise and friends pulled off with “Top Gun: Maverick” ($716 million domestic from a $162 million Fri-Mon debut and $1.49 billion worldwide without a penny from China), well, the only question is on which side this one falls closest.

That’s especially since the film cost, partially thanks to COVID-related delays and upcharges, a reported $290 million. To be fair, some of that is circumstantial and there’s no law saying “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 2” has to cost that much.

Even right down the middle gets this Paramount/Skydance offering to $1.1 billion, which is mostly a testament to how ridiculously last year’s Pete Mitchell passion play performed last year.