Rapid Insights: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning and Top Gun: Maverick

Next month, a year and change after last summer’s runaway smash Top Gun: Maverick, Paramount will release the newest fruit of its long-time collaboration with megastar Tom Cruise: the next entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise. With the story split across two movies, the spy-based action-thriller will follow Ethan Hunt and his IMF team as they race around the globe to track down a terrifying new weapon before it can fall into the wrong hands.

Here’s what you need to know about Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One:

Vault AI uses index scores to describe the impact a given story/theme/element will have on specific KPIs: 
≤79 Disappointing  80-89 Challenging  90-109 Average  110-119 Promising  120+ Outstanding

Who will be lining up to see this film in theaters?
A relatively wide viewership. We’re predicting an audience that skews male (66%) and older (58% aged 30+), a profile in line with 2018’s Mission: Impossible –  Fallout. Comparing Dead Reckoning to Maverick, there are some differences reflected in audience demand. Specifically, younger males are even more excited for Dead Reckoning (138) than they were for Maverick (125), while older males show the opposite ((143) vs. (154), respectively), though it is worth pointing out that all these scores are in the outstanding range.

Will Tom Cruise fans follow its charismatic star to Dead Reckoning?
Absolutely. Leveraging data from TV Time’s 12 million registered users, our analysis reveals that those who love Cruise’s most recent films (including Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and The Mummy) have an outstanding level of engagement for Dead Reckoning. Unsurprisingly, devotees of the Mission: Impossible franchise also register with an outstanding score. In contrast, the score for Top Gun: Maverick fans is not quite at the same high level of these aforementioned fan groups. This audience pattern suggests that fans of the Top Gun and Mission Impossible franchises do not entirely overlap. It also speaks to the unique storytelling elements that each franchise offers.

How can Dead Reckoning pull in as many Top Gun fans given that film’s success?
Focus on the mission and stunts. Ethan Hunt and his team’s quest to stop a weapon of mass destruction echoes Maverick and his trainees’ goal of decommissioning a nuclear weapons plant and will leave viewers similarly on the edge of their seats. Maverick lovers drawn to that film’s action-packed Aerial Combat (117) and life-or-death stakes are likely to be interested in Dead Reckoning’s extreme stunts, heroic, save-the-world Impossible Mission (114), and nail-biting Race Against Time (112).

What separates Top Gun: Maverick from Dead Reckoning?
Its unique blend of excitement and nostalgia. Thanks to its focus on rivalry, competition and training within the US Navy, Maverick welded aspects of the War (126) and Sports (120) genres onto its action-thriller base, genres that don’t appear in Dead Reckoning, but undoubtedly appealed to male fans. At the same time, the film effectively leaned into emotional nostalgia with themes of Overcoming Grief (115), being Haunted by the Past (112), and Mentorship (110) of the next generation; all were key drivers of viewership.

What will set Dead Reckoning apart from previous Mission: Impossible films?
New stunts and a new character. The headliner moment in Dead Reckoning–that Tom Cruise performed himself–is a death-defying cliff jump on a motorcycle, and that plus a complicated sequence on a crashing train (Extreme Stunts, 119; High-Speed Pursuit, 118) is what will get people talking online. The movie also features several Kick-Ass Women (110) returning from Mission: Impossible – Fallout alongside a strong new heroine played by Hayley Atwell. These highlights, along with the franchise’s built-in Spy/Espionage (129) backdrop, help both to differentiate it from Top Gun: Maverick and explain its distinctive fanbase.

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*Publicly released trailers for series are evaluated using Vault AI’s algorithms – utilizing our proprietary 120K+ story element database alongside ratings performance and other datasets – to identify unique combinations of stories, themes, characters, and genre elements that will drive success.

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