Making movies during COVID has been extremely hard. Especially for blockbusters.

Tentatively, people estimate that pandemic precautions were adding 10% to every budget. Now imagine you're making a movie that might cost upwards of $300 million—so an extra $30 million was going to COVID.

That's what Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise have been dealing with on the newest Mission: Impossible movie. The seventh installment of the franchise has put a lot of pressure on Paramount, as costs continue to rise.

Still, they know they need a tentpole like this one to succeed. That kind of worry is prevalent with anyone trying to launch a franchise. But with Paramount, they're also trying to launch an app, Paramount+, that will house this blockbuster movie 45 days after it leaves theaters. 

Too bad Tom Cruise is a movie star and not a streaming star. His contract dictated that the movie should be released in a manner consistent with his other films in the franchise. That meant Cruise grabbing lawyers and going to war with the studio making his film, while in production, to get a longer theatrical window.

That battle is ongoing. Making this new movie has been a journey for everyone involved, especially Cruise, who has shepherded this franchise from the start, and now is in a constant battle with the studio and producers to make sure the movie is done the way he feels is the best, according to the Hollywood Reporter

One of the wilder aspects is that while this movie is being filmed, Paramount changed CEOs from Jim Gianopolis to Brian Robbins. So budget approvals and changes have gone through two different regimes and many delays thanks to the pandemic. 

Part of the reason for this kerfuffle is that Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 were supposed to shoot back to back. M:I 7 is now in the can, and M:I 8 has just begun.

Cruise has convinced the head of the studio to give them more money to make the film, but the risk becomes how much they need to make back for all this to be worth it. Cruise has a ton of creative control, ensuring that 7 ends with a cliffhanger so daring they must make the eighth installment. 

One funny thing is that while Cruise and McQuarrie told the studio they had locked 7 and were onto 8, they decided to add a submarine to the movie. That meant using lots of money from 8to pay for something they would edit into 7. The studio couldn't say no, because the sub factored into the story in both movies. This kind of trickery is smart on the filmmakers' part, since they are dealing with new people running a studio. But time will tell if the subterfuge and actual Mission: Impossible tactics will pay off at the box office. 

We'll keep you updated every step of the way.