By LINDSEY BAHR
The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS — Paramount Pictures is ready for its comeback story.
On Wednesday at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, studio chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos announced a sequel to the breakthrough thriller “A Quiet Place,” two new Star Trek movies and trotted out its biggest star, Tom Cruise, to dazzle the audience of theater owners and exhibitors with stories of his death defying stunts in “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.”
“It’s no secret we’ve had some difficult years at the box office,” said Gianopulos in his first presentation as the studio chair to the CinemaCon attendees. For the past few years, the studio has trailed behind the other major Hollywood studios in box office returns.
He said the studio has made significant changes in leadership and production and is ready to get back to a narrative of success and that “A Quiet Place” is “the first of what we hope will be many future hits.”
The John Krasinski-directed thriller has earned over $135 million from North American theaters in just three weeks. It cost only $17 million to produce.
The studio teased a lineup heavy with familiar brands, including the Transformers spinoff “Bumblebee,” with Hailee Steinfeld, a new “Cloverfield” sequel, several “Star Trek” movies, their “Terminator” project, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, a Sonic the Hedgehog movie, a World War Z sequel, a Dungeons and Dragons movie and a new “Spongebob Squarepants.” Save for “Bumblebee: The Movie” which comes out in December, most of the projects are years from release.
One film that is likely destined for box office success in the more immediate future is “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” the sixth film in the Tom Cruise-anchored franchise, which have made over $2.7 billion worldwide.
Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie (who he calls McQ) made an appearance to close out the presentation with a look inside one of the film’s most dangerous stunts — a free fall, at speeds ranging from 130 to 200 miles per hour, from an airplane at 25,000 feet.
It’s a technique, McQuarrie said, that special forces use for infiltration.
“How much we can do that is physically possible without killing Tom,” McQuarrie wondered while choreographing the 3-minute stunt that they said everyone told them was impossible.
In the end, Cruise did 106 jumps to get three usable takes that will be cut together to make a single 3-minute action sequence in the film. CinemaCon audiences got a look at the early footage of Cruise pulling it off.
“We shot this in the UAE,” Cruise said. “We never would have been able to do this anywhere else.”
Later, Cruise’s co-star Simon Pegg joined them on stage and said of Cruise’s preference to do dangerous stunts himself that, “It is a daily stress going to work with him because you don’t know if you’re going to see him tomorrow.”
Production on the film was put on hiatus last year after Cruise broke his ankle while filming a rooftop jump scene in London.
“Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” and Cruise’s latest epic stunt, hits theaters July 27.