'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation': How the movie series has endured

The movie business has gone through big changes since the first 'Mission: Impossible' arrived on the scene in the 1990s. How has the franchise stayed on top?

David James/Paramount Pictures/AP
'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation' stars Tom Cruise (l.) and Rebecca Ferguson (r.).

The new “Mission: Impossible” movie is coming to theaters on July 31, and while the movie business is vastly different from when the first movie hit the big screen, the "Mission" movies still consistently score at the box office.

“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” brings back Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, who is part of the Impossible Mission Force. In this film, the government is beginning to question whether having the IMF in operation is a good idea anymore, but Ethan and his colleagues believe they still have villains to catch.

The film is based on the 1960s TV show of the same name. “Rogue” is the fifth film in the series. 

The first movie came out in 1996, when original stories were the order of the day. “Independence Day,” a tale of aliens attacking Earth, was both the highest-grossing film of the year and an original story, as was “Twister,” a film about people researching tornadoes and the second-highest-grossing. “Mission” was the third-highest-grossing and was based off a TV program, but the fourth-highest, “Jerry Maguire,” and the seventh-highest, “The Rock,” were original. The others were mostly remakes of previous films, such as “Ransom” and the comedies “The Birdcage” and “The Nutty Professor.” The high-grossing “A Time to Kill” was an adaptation of a John Grisham novel.

One 1996 box office hit, the live-action adaptation of the Disney animated film “101 Dalmations,” was a harbinger of the current trend of adapting Disney animated movies into live-action stories.

The “Mission” movies did fairly well at the box office over the years after the debut of the first, with the second in particular becoming a smash hit. But the fourth movie, 2011’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” entered a very different marketplace. “Ghost” faced off against the final “Harry Potter” film (the highest-grossing movie of the year), a “Twilight” film, and a Marvel movie, “Thor” as well as movies based on theme park rides (a “Pirates of the Caribbean” film) and toys (a “Transformers” film).

Nevertheless, the fourth “Mission” movie still succeeded at the box office and was one of the best-received of the series, drawing new attention to the movie franchise. “Mission” has continued to creatively reinvent itself, like another movie series even more long-running than “Mission,” the James Bond films. Like “Mission,” the “Bond” movies always did well at the box office but entered a creative slump with the tail end of the movies starring Pierce Brosnan. The series was revitalized with the 2006 film “Casino Royale,” which not only brought on a new Bond, actor Daniel Craig, but brought Bond back to his roots, showing how he embarked on his career. 

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