Not only has the stunt-filled fourquel freshened the 15 1/2-year-old spy franchise, but saved Tom Cruise’s career from freefall and spurred Jeremy Renner into a higher profile worldwide. Paramount tells me that director Brad Bird’s first live-action film, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, has passed $200 million in North America and, combined with its strong performance internationally of $369M through Sunday, has outgrossed Mission: Impossible 2‘s $546.4M globally and now becomes the highest-grossing film in the franchise with $571M worldwide to date. Co-financed by Skydance Productions, M:I4 with its continuing story about IMF operative Ethan Hunt reclaimed the overseas #1 position this weekend from 7,837 locations across 63 markets. The largest of the latest five openings was China. The actioner was written by André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, and produced by Cruise, J. J. Abrams (director of the third installment) and Bryan Burk, co-founder of Abrams banner Bad Robot Productions. M:I4 is the first Mission: Impossible movie to be partially filmed using IMAX cameras. The film opened exclusively in IMAX on December 16th, aided by a pairing with Warner Bros’ highly anticipated Batman threequel footage for The Dark Knight Rises, and everywhere on December 21st. “Brad Bird, Tom Cruise, J.J. Abrams and the entire team who worked on M:I4 created an incredibly entertaining film, one that fans worldwide embraced in record numbers,” Paramount’s Vice Chairman Rob Moore said in a statement from the studio.
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