Following up on a Puck exclusive from Matthew Belloni, Variety‘s Rebecca Rubin has reviewed the turbulent IMAX situation — not so much a conflict as a show of temperament and agitation — between Tom Cruise‘s Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One (Paramount, 7.12) and Chris Nolan‘s Oppenheimer (Universal, 7.21).

Cruise is allegedly irate about IMAX execs having contracted with Nolan and Universal to play Oppenheimer and only Oppenheimer on all of the North American IMAX theatres for three full weeks, or from Friday, 7.21 through Thursday, 8.17.

The Cruise-Paramount tentpoler (aka MI:7) will be first out of the gate, of course, but will be presented on IMAX screens for only nine (9) days, or between Wednesday, 7.12 and Thursday evening, 7.20.

The next morning (Friday, 7.21) MI:7 gets the heave-ho and Oppenheimer steps into the booth.

There are only 401 North American IMAX screens, and only 30 of these are capable of projecting hardcore 70mm IMAX.

What could Cruise be saying to IMAX execs that would make any sense? A contract is a contract, right? Could he be saying “you guys know that Dead Reckoning Part One is going to be much, much more popular with Joe and Jane Popcorn than fucking Oppenheimer, which appears to be a high-falutin’ moral drama aimed at intellectual dweebs, and in black-and-white yet …a movie about the development of the atom bomb, which happened over 70 years ago and means very little to Millennials and GenZ.

“You know we’re going to be a much hotter ticket, so why don’t you guys just man up and tell Universal and Nolan that you’d rather play Dead Reckoning for obvious reasons?”

Even if Cruise was to say something along these lines (which would be nuts in and of itself), IMAX execs wouldn’t have a choice. Their commitment to play Oppenheimer is almost certainly iron-clad.

If I was in Cruise’s shoes I would push Paramount to commit to an emergency IMAX-only release for Dead Reckoning a week or two earlier, starting, say, on Wednesday, 6.28 or at least on Wednesday, July 5th. Imagine the want-to-see factor if MI:7 was playing only on IMAX screens for one or two weeks prior to the general release on 7.12. Crowds would be breaking down doors.

Let’s not forget that Dead Reckoning has been in the works for two and three-quarter years, and has been finished and ready to show for a good year or so, and perhaps a bit longer than that.

MI:7 filming began on 9.6.20, went through a COVID shutdown and finished a year later during September 2021.

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One was initially set to open on 7.23.21. It was then bumped to 11.19.21, and then bumped again to 5.27.22, and then again to 9.30.22 — four release dates set and cancelled. The current 7.12.23 release was announced on 4.27.23.