Sometimes important things happen in the world, and sometimes you find out there’s an insurance company called Chubb. This is the latter instance. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One was one of the better movies of the summer, but it struggled at the box office, barely eking out $566 million. After the escalating success of the last couple entries into the franchise—Mission: Impossible – Fallout hit a franchise high of $791 million in 2018—and a reported $290 million budget, this was not a good result for a Tom Cruise summer blockbuster (especially coming off the billion-dollar success of Top Gun: Maverick last summer).
Enter Chubb. No, not a peeler bar. Nor the schlubby sidekick in an Eighties college comedy. Nor the wacky animal sidekick of an amateur detective. Chubb is an insurance firm. Yes, that’s right, The Chubb Corporation is one of the most highly rated insurance firms in the world. Somewhere, right now, there is fancy corporate letterhead and branded pens with the word Chubb on them and it’s not a bachelor party prank. I absolutely refuse to look up the history of Chubb. I want to know precisely nothing. I want to live in a world where businessmen in business suits say the word “Chubb” unironically a hundred times a day without batting an eye.
So, what does Chubb have to do with Tom Cruise? Well, M:I 7 was insured by Federal Insurance Company, which is owned by Chubb. It is, you might say, a Chubby company. And Paramount ended up suing Federal Insurance Company—and Chubb, by extension (Chubb by Extension. For him.)—over their interpretation of the COVID clauses in their insurance contract. Originally, Federal only paid $5 million, interpreting that M:I 7 didn’t HAVE to shut down production when people contracted COVID. But Paramount sued, insisting they had to shut down production not only to protect those who were not ill, but also in compliance with local regulations as they filmed throughout Europe in late 2020 and early 2021.
The suit kicked off last year and reached a settlement, but now the figure has been revealed, and it means the difference between failure and mediocre success for Dead Reckoning. Paramount ended up winning back $71 million from Federal and its Chubby business daddy. That reduces the budget to about $219 million, which is still an eye-popping number, never mind another hundred million, at least, spent on marketing, but it DOES mean Dead Reckoning is officially out of bomb territory. The old standby assumption of a film needing to earn 2.5x its budget to break even now puts Dead Reckoning in the breakeven neighborhood of $548 million, which means it just squeaks into profitability for Paramount and Tom Cruise’s ego, which puts a happier spin on Dead Reckoning’s summer. And it’s all thanks to Chubb, which might also be the tagline for an off-brand male enhancement drug.
Live long and gossip,