Weekend BO Report: ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Delivers Franchise-Best Opening As Other Films Fall Out Of Love

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s been a mixed year for Paramount Studios so far, with the studio delivering Box Office flops in Johnny Knoxville’s ‘Action Point’, ‘Sherlock Gnomes’, and critical darling ‘Annihilation’, but also releasing Box Office bombshells, ‘A Quiet Place’ (6th biggest horror movie of all time) and leggy rom-com, ‘Book Club’. The introduction of ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’, starring Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, and Simon Pegg, makes it an even split in the disappointments vs. successes battle, as its $61.2m opening means it’s not only the studios biggest opening of the year, but the franchise’s biggest too.

The potential for this to beat the $57.8m of ‘MI2’ was evident; ‘Fallout’s franchise-best 98% on the Tomatometer was coupled by an A on Cinemascore, the only time the series has bettered an A-. Its gender-split of 55% male was an improvement on the more skewed audience profile of ‘Rogue Nation’s opening and, although the opening itself is only the 8th biggest of the year so far, it marks Tom Cruise’s 2nd best – just behind 2005s ‘War of the Worlds’ ($64.9m). Globally, ‘Fallout’ has hit $155.8m off a $178m budget, a fantastic start for the star-studded action-thriller.

In one of the biggest drops of the weekend, ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ made just $15.1m (-57%) in a classic case of sequel-itis. The seemingly front-loaded musical now sits on a strong $70.5m in the U.S., and a whopping $167.9m worldwide, after just 2 weekends in release. Blasting in with $14m is ‘The Equalizer 2’, which was hit hard by ‘Fallout’, resulting in a 61% drop. ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’ earned $12.3m and is now just $50m away from franchise-best ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’s domestic total of $169.7m.

If ‘Fallout’ was a success, then ‘Teen Titans Go! To the Movies’ was the opposite, pulling in just $10.4m in its first 3 days (although its $10m budget means Warner Bros. won’t lose too much sleep over it). The issue here was two-fold: there were already two major animated films out this week, in ‘HT3’ and record-breaking ‘Incredibles 2’, and the film has a very specific audience (i.e. fans of the TV show) making this a tight squeeze. What this resulted in was ‘Teen Titans’ becoming the first superhero movie since ‘Fan4stic’ not to debut at number one. The film that did sit atop the charts back then, in August 2015? ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’.

Ant-Man and The Wasp’ continues to fly high, earning $8.8m to close in on the $200m domestic mark, and it is currently just $4m away from $400m worldwide (without China, Japan, Germany, or the U.K., mind you). ‘Incredibles 2’ is now just under $1m away from reaching $1bn globally, after earning $7.3m this weekend in the U.S., while ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ made $6.7m. Finally, ‘Skyscraper’ and ‘The First Purge’ round off the top ten with $5.3m and $2.2m alike.

So, ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ reached the $60m mark, but ‘Teen Titans Go! To The Movies’ disappointed in a weekend with big weekend drops. What were you expecting? Let us know your thoughts on Instagram and Twitter – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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‘Mission: Impossible’ Retrospective: Part 2

Welcome back. My mission, that I’ve chosen to accept, is to look at the recent era of the M:I franchise. If you missed it, check out Part 1 of this retrospective.

Amidst growing opinions about Cruise’s personal life and despite the commercial success of Mission: Impossible III, Paramount were reportedly undecided on the future of their spy adventures. With everything quiet on M:I front for a few years, it wasn’t until august of 2009 that the matches considered to be lit once more. Writers Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec brought on to write the screenplay.

Like Abrams before them, the two writers had cut their teeth in the TV circuit and Ghost Protocol was to be their big break. Funnily enough, Nemec had actually served as a writer prior on Abrams successful show, Alias. With the script in the works, the search for a director was underway. Due to scheduling conflicts, J.J Abrams made it clear that directing would not be an option for him; opting to take a producing position instead alongside Cruise.

March 2010 saw the preliminary talks of bringing The Incredibles director Brad Bird on board. By May of the same year, it was confirmed that Bird would be sitting in the director’s chair. This was to be Bird’s first live action feature; a choice that Bird didn’t take lightly.

This was his chance to flex his already outstanding skill set, in a now well oiled franchise. Consideration towards the direction of the brand itself was in the air, going right down to the “Mission: Impossible” namesake. Discussions were taking place to consider scrapping the established brand name, to be more akin to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Thankfully, it was decided that going into a subtitle phase would be the suitable way forward for Mission: Impossible IP.

Production began on September 29th 2010 and ran all way to March of the following year. Carrying on the globetrotting element of M:I III, locations would include the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moscow and Dubai. Most of the crew heading into the production, Cruise in particular, felt that M:I III was a turning point for the franchise in regards to tone and how to combine action with a gripping story. The aim was to continue this approach and give audiences a visceral blockbuster experience. With the director of thrilling stories like The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, Cruise and Bird were ready to turn the tide.

Fan favourites Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg returned to the cast, while newcomers Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton were brought onto the I.M.F team. It could be seen that Renner was maybe a contingency plan, should Cruise fail to deliver the goods on his fourth outing, in a franchise with an uneasy start. The ball was in Cruise’s court to turn public perception around and give them new contest for exactly why he might be referred to as “crazy” or “insane”. How exactly would do that? Hanging off the side of the tallest building in the world isn’t a bad idea to start with.

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Ghost Protocol would up the ante for the audacity of death defying stunt work. Cruise being the workhorse that he is, was ready again to cheat the reaper on screen. The Burj Khalifa sequence in Ghost Protocol is a stomach churning endurance test for the best of those unafraid of heights. Like the best sequences in the recent entries, this set piece isn’t shoehorned in just for the sake of it. The height induced paranoia is in service of the story.

Bird’s touch and sense in Ghost Protocol has the same air of style and sophistication displayed in The Incredibles. In tandem with the returning Michael Giacchino and Robert Elswitt making the first of two contributions to M: I, Bird oozes an aura that’s closer to Bond but refined rather than copied beat for beat. Of course with bigger action, comes the realisation that M:I retains a license to be sillier if done right. While my soft spot for M:I II remains, it’s more of a Bond shaped ghost than a competitor to Daniel Craig’s grounded character study approach.

Cruise is dialling it all the way. Sandstorms and a descending battle through a multi-level car park see Cruise proving he is the anchor on this ship. No contingency is needed. Mission: Impossible was now your go to vender for blood rushing action.

Filling into cinemas on December 16th 2011, Ghost Protocol became the highest grossing entry in the franchise and Cruise’s biggest grossing film. Critical consensus also offered the installment the highest praise of the series (until Fallout).

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Following previous collaborations and the release of an adaption based around Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novel series, Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise were ready to get back to work again on a project together. Following McQuarie’s uncredited rewrite on Ghost Protocol, Cruise already impressed with Oscar winning McQuarrie’s ideas and was eager for him to helm the next installment of M:I.

Hungry to get back in motion, Paramount announced in August of 2013 that Christopher McQuarrie would be taking on the director’s mantle for the next endeavour. With a story from Iron Man 3 writer Drew Pearce, McQuarrie sank his teeth in concocting the screenplay. Taking cues and inspiration from De Palma’s original outing and admiring the franchise’s growing legacy, McQuarrie decided to bring the story back it’s insider operation roots. After hints of the next installment were left literally in the last seconds of Ghost Protocol, it was the first time that Mission: Impossible were considering having a direct-sequel narrative.

Once again however, Bond was being thrown back into the conversation. As both productions were set to feature narratives about villainous organisations (S.P.E.C.T.R.E and The Syndicate), the topic of which film would come out on top began to dominate itself amongst fans. Was Bond even a threat to Mission: Impossible at this point? Not a chance.

Production began on Rogue Nation on August 20th 2014 and concluded in March of 2015, a week before the official announcement of the title and teaser poster were released. Rogue Nation felt confident from the get go. With the critical affirmation of the franchise in it’s past two entries, Cruise and his team were in business. It was time for Bond to see how far this franchise had come in full force.

How should we start out movie? Cold open? Shadowy objectives via sunglasses? Let’s throw the audience in head first.

The intro sequence of Rogue Nation couldn’t encompass what this franchise is about more if it tried. Ethan’s team are in position. Communication is assertive, panicked but assertive. Where is Cruise though?

Enter the iconic notes of Lalo Schifrin’s theme and the definition of movie star enters the frame. The objective is simple: stop a plane from taking off and secure the payload. Sure? Not in this franchise.

The excitement sets in and we’re off to the races. Cruise mounts the airbus, clinging for dear life, more than ever. The airbus storms into the air and takes Cruise with it, at 5,000 feet in the air. No stunt double.

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The pressure is increasingly mounting both for Cruise and his team. Alas, the objective is secured and we’re strapped into the grin inducing title sequence.

This IS Mission: Impossible in all its glory. Everything you need to know about this series is given you to in an exhilarating injection of adrenaline. From there on, McQuarrie’s direction is assured, composed and almost pitch perfect. I could go on about that Opera sequence for days but I think its already clearer how dynamite that set piece is.

Sean Harris is also a saving grace for the antagonist aspect of these films. Where Ghost Protocol lacked a memorable foe, Rogue Nation rectifies this and gives us the sometimes underused Solomon Lane. With his nasally voice and soul inspecting stare, Sean Harris dominates the role every chance he is given. I can’t explain how claustrophobic I feel when Lane bests Ethan in the record shop.

The sheer terror on Cruise’s face explains it all.

Rogue Nation is an excellent feat for both McQuarrie and the series. Unfortunately, I do feel like the transition from Morocco into the third act is unfocused at times. It was reported in February of 2015 that production was on hold so that Cruise, McQuarrie and an unknown party could reconfigure the third act (specifically the ending). This may explain why Rogue Nation struggles to find its ongoing purpose after the superb beats that have come before it.

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Have I mentioned Alec Baldwin’s speech in the third act? In any other film where the hero is referred to as the “living manifestation of destiny”, I would erupt with laughter. Here, I have a massive grin on my face as you made clearly aware just how bad ass Ethan Hunt has become over the past two decades.

Opening in July of 2015, Rogue Nation would go to make just slightly less than its predecessor, with a box office take of $682.7 million. Just like Ghost Protocol, Rogue Nation was another freshly received entry to the franchise that was confidently set to rival Bond’s November outing later in the year.

So now we’ve reached 2018 and this week sees the release of the sixth (sixth!!) installment of Mission: Impossible. In a series first, McQuarrie has returned to deliver his second take on Ethan Hunt’s ongoing tale of defying the impossible. It really is incredible to see a franchise like this still going strong after all this time. Tom Cruise has to be commended for his undying commitment to his endearing goal as an actor: to entertain an audience the best he can.

I have seen Fallout currently three times and you can bet I’ll be catching it a forth. If you want to know what JUMPCUT makes of it, head over to Dave’s review to see his take on McQuarrie’s critical darling.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this retrospective of Mission: Impossible.

This article will not self destruct in five seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Mission: Impossible’ Retrospective: Part 1

Written by Sam Comrie

The year is 2003. Action figures and the weekly catch up of Jackie Chan Adventures are the fuel to my young imagination. However, the biggest contributor to fuelling my playground adventures and hours in the garden: Movies. Cut to the summer of ’03 and my brother suggests watching something to help deal with the sweltering heat outside.

Then it happened. As if the orange hue of the cover was radiating from the other side of the living room. The slick black shades protecting a hero engulfed in glowing flames. “Let’s watch Mission: Impossible II” my brother declares.

Cut to present day and Mission: Impossible is still one of my favourite franchises. With the impending release of Fallout looming, I thought it was time to look back at the franchise and its evolution since its 1996 debut.

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Viewed by many as alternative to the long established James Bond franchise, the thrills and splendour of Mission: Impossible offer a taste of pure blockbuster spectacle that is arguably unmatched in the current climate of popcorn cinema. That’s not even a detriment to the franchise, as these films have recognised there is nothing wrong with offering the audience a high octane popcorn experience. Where Mission: Impossible succeeds since finding its feet, is balancing those explosions with a tightly woven plot that gives you prime cuts with the trimmings cut off. However, the future wasn’t always so clear for Cruise’s beloved adventures.

Adapting a popular TV show from the 1960’s is one thing. Bringing in renown Hitchcock enthusiast and auteur Brian De Palma to helm a Cruise vehicle is another. A director applauded for his unique sense of  lust, obsession and voyeuristic looks into questionable acts maybe isn’t the first person that comes to mind when thinking of a Tom Cruise actioner. In retrospective, it was the perfect start.

Containing the first 50 minutes almost exclusively to a soirée and an apartment rigged for intrusion, De Palma focuses his lens on a team that is literally dying in the cold. Now that the blood is washed on Cruise’s hands, its time to get even.

It would be a crime if I didn’t mention THAT iconic sequence. Yes, the CIA heist is an all timer sequence that showed us the first inklings of how this franchise could offer tension mission from mainstream blockbusters. Every time Jean Reno drops his knife from that laser sealed vent, my heart will still skip a beat without fail.

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With a new franchise coming out of the rough, it’s not a surprise that a ropey journey behind the scenes was reported. Entering the production with barely anything on a page, it was up in the air whether De Palma’s foray into star vehicles would work. The original TV show cast lauded the movie for it’s treatment of their characters, especially Jim Phelps (portrayed by Jon Voight). The script was ripped apart and some of the cast reportedly walked out of their private screening.

All the chips were down leading up to release day.

Mission: Impossible was released in May of 1996, to considerably mixed reviews, aimed mostly at its convoluted plot. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop them dead in their tracks. Going on to spawn $457.7 million in it’s box office run, it was clear that there was audience interest in the clandestine panorama of espionage that was Mission: Impossible.

There was room to improve, to refine and tweak what Mission: Impossible could aspire to be as the growing ideal of what mainstream action cinema should be.

Back to the slick sunglasses. De Palma passed on the opportunity to return and Tom Cruise knew exactly where he wanted to find his next director. He found that director in heroic bloodshed legend and pioneer, John Woo (Hard Boiled, The Killer, A Better Tomorrow)

Woo had left his mark on the Hong Kong action scene and had made his move into the Hollywood market with freedom with his 1997 cult classic, Face/Off. Cruise was clearly impressed with Woo’s CV and approached Paramount to get Mission: Impossible II off the ground. Before the cameras even began rolling, there was already a spy making waves once more in cinemas. Pierce Brosnan was riding high on the success of his James Bond entries in 1995 and 1997, releasing another in 1999 (a whole year before Mission: Impossible II was released into the world).

When Goldeneye impressed Bond fans and audiences alike in 1995 before the first M:I exploded onto screens, it was clear that a new era of Bond was in motion to ward off competitors. Woo and the production combo of Cruise / Wagner were determined to show audiences that Ethan Hunt was here to stay. Production began in April of 1999 and concluded in December of the same year. It was rumoured that Woo’s initial cut was around three and a half hours; way over the studio mandate.

With this cut trimmed down to just over two hours, Mission: Impossible II was John Woo’s action sandbox, with Cruise as his player one. Doves included. This was also the instalment to light the fuse on Cruise’s desire to risk his life onscreen for our entertainment. As it has become clear over the years, Cruise is now a versatile jack of all trades when it comes stunt work.

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Originally the vertigo inducing reintroduction of Ethan was supposed to be handled by qualified professionals; but Cruise picked up the required skillsets to handle the sequence himself with minimal stunt double insert shots. This was all Paramount needed to push the marketing campaign. Ethan Hunt wasn’t just coming back; he was literally ascending back into frame.

Looking back on Mission: Impossible II all these years later, it really does appear to me as the estranged entry. Trading a paranoid undercover operative for a suave playboy spy is an almost startling concept transitioning into the second film. Cruise discards most shreds of humanity for a persona of wit, brawn and machoism. It’s evident that the success of a new Bond was looming over the production and its influence was bleeding into the celluloid.

I would go as far to say that Mission: Impossible II is much more of an embodiment of a “standalone” entry, that a continuation of the themes or ideas presented prior. Even with Bond’s shadow over the production, that isn’t to say that Woo didn’t present audiences with a blockbuster devoid of any identity. Mission: Impossible II is first and foremost a JOHN WOO production. Every Woo-ism you’ve come to expect is on show, with an extra dose of slow motion to drink it all down with.

The second half is where Woo really gets to shine. Gorgeous wide shots decorate grin inducing action sequences, while Hans Zimmer’s score soars over the bullets. Crash zooms make an appearance, most notably in the excellent compound sabotage sequence in the third act, as flames reflect terror in Dougray Scott’s iris.

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Unfortunately, Woo’s stylistic prowess wasn’t enough to overcome Paramount’s trimming to make a more commercially viable summer package. Upon its release in July of 2000, again amongst varied responses, audiences made it clear that Cruise’s espionage escapades were making an impression on them.

Bringing back $565,400,000 and claiming the “highest grossing film of 2000” top spot, the doors were open for Ethan Hunt’s next mission.

Fast forward six years and an absence of Ethan Hunt. Cruise would go to star in Michael Mann’s thriller Collateral, two Spielberg productions and another Cameron Crowe experiment in the time before another Mission film was on the table. Various directors would come on board to helm the third entry, including David Fincher and cast members Scarlett Johansson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Kenneth Branagh in the mix. After Joe Carnahan left in July of 2004, the directors seat was up in the air once more. Johansson, Moss and Branagh would leave due to the continuing production delays. Cruise would happen to come across a saving grace in his spare time.

With his experience primarily in the TV circuit from Alias and the beginnings of Lost making an impression, J.J Abrams was recruited personally by Cruise to make feature film debut with Mission: Impossible III. June 8th of 2005 saw Paramount Pictures green light the production with a fresh cast on board. It was time to light the fuse once more. Just a month later and cameras would start rolling on July 12th.

Mission: Impossible III would be the first instalment to add a globetrotting element to the franchise, with locations such as Shanghai, Berlin and Rome displaying a renewed sense of exploration in Ethan Hunt’s race against the clock. Gone were the affectations of Bond and a new adrenaline filled formula was injected directly into the heart of the action. Sharper cuts and spiralling Steadicam shots made sure we were packed tightly into the frame, avoiding the aftermath of spies doing what they do best. Dan Mindel makes the frame pop with vibrancy and texture.

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With the advent of Jason Bourne in the market and a new dawn of how action was been perceived, it’s clear that the team on M:I III were already retrofitting new trends for their own gain. Out of all the instalments, M:I III is a whirlwind when its come to set pieces. From the head daze of the Berlin extraction or the militant precision of the bridge battle, these set pieces were paving the way for this franchise to realize its true potential. It wasn’t just the spectacle that was getting a makeover either.

What happens when a spy goes home? Do they even have a home to go back to? Abrams decided to explore just that, as we finally get to know what makes Ethan tick behind all the rubber masks. While the stakes maybe aren’t as potent as the film has aged, the risk of taking time to slow it down to mundane aspects of normal life are commendable for a franchise that was still assuming an identity.

Thankfully, an identity is exactly what was gained. Mission: Impossible finally knew what it could be = succinct espionage beats and awe inspiring set pieces. No facades of Bond or any other IP in the mix. What is a hero’s journey without a villain though?

While Jon Voight was serviceable and Dougray Scott was somewhat more impressionable (probably down to his method of nail clipping), the M:I films were still waiting for a villain to leave a mark. Enter the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Leaving someone else’s mouth, the dialog for Owen Davian would have fell flat without a doubt. When that cold open introduces us to an unfamiliar scenario of Ethan in peril and Hoffman’s cold gaze dominating the frame, you know it’s time to buckle in.

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The pieces were in place to solidify a turning point where Ethan Hunt was ready to be a household name in the spy business.

Mission: Impossible III dropped into cinemas in May of 2006, becoming another commercial success. Despite making less than its predecessor ($397.8 million), the new era of M: I was a critical success that garnered much more favourable reviews than what had come before. Cruise and co. weren’t out of matches yet.

‘Mission: Impossible’ Retrospective: Part 2

Coming Soon! 

New ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Featurette Showcases Cruise’s ‘Most Dangerous Stunt Yet’

With each passing ‘Mission Impossible’ film there’s always one question on fans minds… What the hell is Tom Cruise going to do in the next one to top it!?

We’ve witnessed Cruise versus 16 tons of water as he blows the glass on a fish tank and quickly has to escape, free climbing Dead Horse Point, scaling the Burj Khalifa, base jumping, clinging on the to side of an aeroplane as it takes off, holding his breath for 6 minutes underwater, almost taking a knife to the eye… you name it, Cruise has probably done it!

But, even after his aeroplane stunt in ‘Rogue Nation’, Cruise still promised he would out-do himself, as he always somehow manages to do. From what we’ve seen so far in teasers and trailers, Cruise has upped the ante once again as he clings from a rope on a helicopter in mid-air, climbs up said helicopter to then fly it, leaping from buildings (and consequently breaking his ankle!) and of course, the Halo jump!

Whilst we eagerly await the films release, Paramount have released a featurette for the Halo jump, which showcases how the cast and crew trained and shot the scene that will have no doubt kept McQuarrie up at night!

“MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT finds Ethan Hunt and his IMF team along with some familiar allies in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, and Vanessa Kirby also join the dynamic cast with filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie returning to the helm.”

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Wes Bentley, Frederick Schmidt

Release Date: July 25th, 2018

Ethan Hunt Is On The Run In The Final ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Trailer

“The best intentions often come back to haunt you. “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT” finds Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies,  in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. “

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin, Michelle Monoghan, Angela Bassett

Release Date: July 27th, 2018

Super Bowl Trailer Round-Up

That’s right, it’s the time of year again. It comes around so quickly doesn’t it!?

Last night was the biggest event on the NFL calendar, the Super Bowl! But of course, what we’re here to talk about are those ridiculously expensive ads and trailers that studios fork out for in between the game, just for us to later watch on YouTube!

We’ve rounded up this year’s big hitters, including ‘Mission: Impossible Fallout’, ‘Red Sparrow’, ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ (which is now available to watch on Netflix!), and a ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ teaser trailer before the full thing on GMA.

Avengers: Infinity War

The Cloverfield Paradox

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Skyscraper

 

A Quiet Place

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Red Sparrow

Henry Cavill Joins The Cast of Mission Impossible 6

Director Christopher McQuarrie made the less than subtle announcement last night that Henry Cavill will join Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, and Rebecca Ferguson in ‘Mission Impossible 6’. Over on his Instagram page, McQuarrie posted a photo of himself with the caption “Say, @henrycavill. Had a thought. Curious if you’re interested in a role in the 6th installment of Mission: Impossible. No pressure.” to which Cavill replied “How can I say no to a man with such perfect hair…..”

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The conversation between the pair continued with McQuarrie joking about what he’d expect from Henry –  

McQuarrie: “excellent. Just a few caveats: must enjoy extreme heights, high speeds, motor vehicles of all varieties (especially aircraft), practical stunts, firearms, and sporadic exposition. All good?”
Cavill: “only if I get to fly for real.”
McQuarrie:“ I do believe I specified practical stunts. You in?”
Cavill: “Oh ok…..I’m in!” 

To bring the conversation to a close, McQuarrie signed off in the most ‘Mission Impossible’ way possible- “@henrycavill Outstanding. Welcome aboard. Your social media account will self destruct in 5 seconds.”. It’s not known yet who Cavill will be playing, but whether he’s on Ethan Hunt’s side or not, I’m very excited to see him join such a huge franchise. 

Cavill is currently filming psychological thriller ‘Nomis’ with Alexandra Daddario and Ben Kingsley. He will also reprise his from as the Superman in this year’s highly anticipated ‘Justice League’, as well as Netflix’s British war drama, Sand Castle, which arrives on the popular streaming service April 21st 

‘Mission Impossible 6’ is scheduled to make it’s way into cinemas on July 27th in 2018

Written by Tom Sheffield

Kristof Kiraly: VFXtraordinaire

Kristof Kiraly may not be a household name, but as a visual effects artist, Kiraly has played a part in making some of the biggest films of recent years. From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ to ‘The Jungle Book’, mass explosions to vast landscapes, Kristof Kiraly is the man with the magic touch who, along with his team at Double Negative Visual Effects, gives your favourite films that extra kick.

Interview by Jakob Lewis Barnes

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JLB: Working in visual effects seems like a very specific and technical field of filmmaking, was there a particular moment where you realised that was what you wanted to do?

KK: From a very early age, I was obsessed with creation. I spent hours drawing, sculpting or playing with Lego. I’ve always wanted to understand how things work under the surface. I think it’s this kind of curiosity which led me to the world of computer graphics.

Like many other artists, the big blockbusters were the real push for me; I remember watching behind-the-scenes documentaries of ‘Star Wars’, ‘Jurassic Park’ etc. and realising that people do this for a living was a life-changing experience. Of course I had no idea how I could break in to the industry, but I dived in deep and spent all my time learning VFX on my own (this was a time before YouTube tutorials). With that knowledge, I was fortunate enough to secure a job with a small VFX company where I really started growing, and after six years I got invited to MPC (Moving Picture Company) in London.

JLB: I imagine visual effects to be an extremely challenging and painstaking task, so what, in your opinion, does it take to be a top visual effects artist?

KK: In my opinion, a good VFX artist has to be a good problem solver, because that is essentially what we’re doing most of the time. In this very technical world, things go wrong all the time and you have to figure out how to fix them. The ability to work under pressure is a must-have skill too; time is always compressed and the number of tasks can often be overwhelming.

Also you have to be open to learning new things all the time, because the industry is rapidly evolving and if you stop learning you’ll get left behind. And finally, learn to leave your ego at home. A movie is a team effort where your work is always open to criticism, changes and sometimes it can even be completely thrown out. That’s the nature of the beast, but that is also why the end result is usually much better than the first version.

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JLB: On IMDb you’re credited as “Environment Technical Director” – can you clarify exactly what that entails on a day-to-day basis, and on a larger scale in the filmmaking process?

KK: Environment Technical Directors are responsible for creating environment scenes, that match the photographic quality of the plates they are dealing with. In simpler terms, everything that isn’t a character, vehicle or prop is environment. Creating environments requires both technical and artistic knowledge, as it involves everything from matte-painting to modeling, texturing, projections, lighting, rendering and even composition. As I said earlier, it is creative problem solving on every level.

JLB: Your filmography includes quite a few superhero movies such as ‘Thor: The Dark World’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, but who is your favourite hero (or villain) and why?

KK: To be completely honest, I’m not a huge superhero or comics fan. I personally prefer movies that are closer to reality; I am more excited about everyday superheroes like the journalists of ‘Spotlight’, or the computer scientist Alan Turing, who helped Britain win WWII. But if I had to pick a superhero movie it would be Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, with its dark atmosphere and Hans Zimmer’s unforgettable score.

JLB: Recently, films like ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and the upcoming ‘Assassins Creed’ have opted for more practical effects rather than CGI – can you see this becoming a common trend?

KK: I think everyone agrees that going practical is the proper way of approaching any shot. It gives the film crew a physicality they can relate to. The actors can feel that they are part of the environment, the DOP can set the lights up properly and figure out what lens and camera movement works. Of course, practical effects are very costly, harder to control and have their limitations. That’s where VFX comes into play – to extend those boundaries, but it should be used sensibly and be based on reality. That’s why it’s good when we have the practical elements.

To be honest, my only problem with this new wave of “practical effect based” movies is their marketing and the way they treat visual effects publicly – as though VFX is just a negligible thing, and practical effects is the holy grail. The fact is that these modern blockbusters have almost no frame which has not been digitally enhanced in some way.

Ex-Machina

JLB: Your company – Double Negative Visual Effects – was part of the VFX Oscar winning team this year for ‘Ex Machina’Where would you say Ava – the artificial intelligence at the core of the story – ranks among your studio’s creations?

KK: I was extremely pleased to see ‘Ex Machina’ winning the Oscar for Best VFX. Especially since everyone was pretty sure that it would go to either ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Mad Max’. I think the movie in general was a massive achievement, and the effects served the story well; it wasn’t just a mindless visual orgy but a very organic piece. ‘Ex Machina’ is a great example of why I love to work for Double Negative – it is very much a technology-driven company with some insanely-talented artists.

JLB: For you personally, what is your proudest moment/favourite piece of work in the VFX industry?

KK: I’m extremely thankful that this is my nine-to-five. Working on movies that millions of people will go and see (and hopefully enjoy) is very rewarding. I’m proud of everything I’ve been working on, but my personal top three would be ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation’ and ‘Spectre’.

Mission Impossible

JLB: And finally, what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given throughout your career?

KK: I’ve been given lots of great advice throughout my career, but two of those stand out as the most influential. The first, is from my late grandfather who told me that you have to learn new things so you have more legs to stand on and that will give you stability.

The other is from my former MPC leader, mentor and friend, Marco G, who told me that in VFX you have to have three things to survive: reputation, connections, and savings.

Tom Cruise Talks Top Gun 2

Everyone knows Tom Cruise likes to do his own stunts – he reminds us at least once a day – so it comes as no surprise that the ‘Mission Impossible’ man is plotting his next daredevil display. With a ‘Top Gun’ sequel on the way, and Tom Cruise set to reprise his role as Maverick, he has laid out his demands.

Cruise, speaking to Reuters, said: “I would like to get back into those jets,” but explained “It would have to be practical. I don’t want any CGI jets”. I suppose it’s safer than flying on the outside of a plane. And I’m sure the A-lister will get his way as usual.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes