Insurance

Paramount sues insurance firm over ‘Mission: Impossible’ COVID shutdowns

Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures slapped its insurance company with a lawsuit Monday after it refused to cover the majority of its losses due to pandemic-related shutdowns on “Mission: Impossible 7.”

Paramount claims in its lawsuit that its insurer, Chubb, said it will pay only $1 million for COVID-19 losses under its “civil authority” policy.

The production of the action-packed film starring Tom Cruise was delayed seven times between February 2020 and June 2021, at least six of which were the result of the pandemic, according to the suit filed in California federal court.

Paramount said it had a cast insurance policy for “Mission: Impossible” with a $100 million coverage limit. Generally, this policy is intended to cover losses that result when a film’s key talent — such as Tom Cruise or director Christopher McQuarrie — is unavailable due to sickness, kidnapping or death, for example.

Tom Cruise on the set of "Mission Impossible 7."
Tom Cruise on the set of “Mission: Impossible 7.”
Ciao Pix / BACKGRID

Paramount says this provision should have kicked in due to pandemic-related shutdowns at the time because those shutdowns were intended to protect the cast from getting sick.

Chubb has said COVID shutdowns are covered only under the studio’s “civil authority” policy, which covers costs that are the result of government’s mandated shutdowns. That policy carries just a $1 million limit.

Paramount and Chubb declined to comment further.

Actor Tom Cruise and actress Hayley Atwell handcuffed together filming a thrilling chase with cars on the set of the film Mission Impossible 7
A leaked recording caught star Tom Cruise screaming at crew members for breaking COVID protocols after the film had been delayed several times.
Insidefoto / BACKGRID

“Mission: Impossible 7” was initially slated to kick off in Venice, Italy, on Feb. 24, 2020. At the time, Paramount cited local authorities’ ban on public gatherings and said it was postponing the shoot “out of an abundance of caution.”

But the lawsuit said the production actually shut down because one of the cast and crew covered under the insurance policy had become sick. The suit didn’t name the person, nor did it note if that person was sick with the coronavirus.

Chubb forked over $5 million under the cast insurance policy as a result, the suit said.

Tom Cruise and Hayley Atwell are spotted filming a dramatica  camera car chase in Spanish Steps on the set of Mission Impossible 7 in Rome.
Paramount, the studio behind “Mission: Impossible,” claims its insurance did not live up to its coverage terms.
ROMA@MEGA

Production, which was set to begin in March, was pushed back to July due to spiking COVID cases and Italian government restrictions. Further delays ensued after two separate outbreaks in October last year.

The production’s total budget isn’t clear, but for perspective, the last six films had a budget of $828 million, with the last one, “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” having a $178 million budget.

In December, Cruise made headlines for yelling at crew members who broke COVID-19 rules on set during the filming of the flick in the UK. The megastar was heard on a leaked recording screaming: “If I see you doing it again, you’re f—ing gone.”

The movie got some more bad luck when it was halted twice more, once in February 2021 when cases surged in the UK and in June 2021.

While the suit does not state how much Paramount is seeking, it hints that the $5 million payout represents a “small portion” of its total losses.

“Mission: Impossible 7” is now slated to be released on May 27, 2022.