When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.


If you look at all the bullets Tom Cruise dodged in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, most consisted of surviving very difficult stunts like hanging off a plane, an extended sequence where he had to hold his breath three minutes underwater to complete a scene shot in a single take and almost getting hit by a double-decker bus during another scene. But the biggest was the brilliant decision by Paramount to change plans from a December 25 release to summer. The studio did it to avoid Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and boy was that a good idea, as the Force cut into the business of every year-end film.


Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

The franchise revival Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was a hard act to follow, but Rogue Nation came close. Much had to do with the exuberance of Cruise and his willingness to do the craziest of stunts to make his Ethan Hunt convincing. This was the first Mission: Impossible for Chris McQuarrie, who reworked Drew Pearce’s script and directed. He and Cruise had done three other films together with Valkyrie, Edge -f Tomorrow and Jack Reacher, the latter of which McQuarrie directed and adapted from the Lee Child novels. He and Cruise have a shorthand, and he was an inspired choice when Brad Bird decided not to return. They didn’t get rattled even as they decided the original ending could be improved, and the film paused briefly so they could set it up and stage it. The picture grossed $56M domestic in its opening weekend July 31, and it grossed $121M worldwide that weekend. Its $135M gross in China was the highest-grossing 2D film ever in that territory, and the film ended up being the second-highest Mission: Impossible behind Ghost Protocol, which made it the second-highest-grossing film of Cruise’s career. Cruise and McQuarrie committed to do the next installment together, with the ensemble expected back including Rebecca Ferguson in her breakout role. All told, the picture was a winner for Paramount and co-financier Skydance Pictures. It brought $109.8M in net profit, for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.25.