Tom Cruise performed the sequence where Ethan Hunt scales the outside of the Burj Khalifa tower himself without the use of a stunt double. The Burj Khalifa tower is the tallest building in the world at 2,722 feet, or 829.8 meters. Cruise dangled outside the tower at approximately 1,700 feet, or 518 meters.
The actor that hands Ethan the black mask to place over his head to meet the arms dealer appeared in Mission: Impossible (1996), giving him the same style mask when he is being taken to meet Max, an arms dealer.
During production, Tom Cruise did the majority of his own stunts, including the skyscraper sequence(s), to show the audience it was actually him. This would allow director Brad Bird to have more capabilities with camera angles, and not having to hide the fact that it is a stuntman doing the stunts.
The film made $693 million at the box office worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing installment in the franchise. It also surpassed War of the Worlds (2005) to become Tom Cruise's highest grossing film as of 2012.
Jeremy Renner was offered the role of Jackson Lamb in Super 8 (2011) (eventually taken by Kyle Chandler) but took the role of Brandt when J.J. Abrams told him that Tom Cruise and Brad Bird were interested in him. When accepting the role, Renner was only briefed on the film and character outline as there was no script at that point.
The high-tech car that Ethan Hunt drives near the end of the film is the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept car. It is an actual prototype of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid that entered production in late 2013. The concept car is powered by a 1.5 liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine and two electric motors.
According to Tom Cruise, he was happy to hear that they were using a subtitle in the film's heading instead of a number like the prior two films did. Cruise has never been a fan of a number at the end of the film's sequel titles as he's always considered each film as a stand alone feature in the Mission: Impossible film franchise.
The high quality screen hologram projector gadget used to conceal anyone behind it during the elaborated set-up within the Moscow Kremlin scene, was similarly used during the television series Mission: Impossible (1966) season four, episode sixteen, "The Falcon. Part 3".
Additional shots were filmed with Benji (Simon Pegg) and the Kremlin guard, the latter coming so dangerously close to the rear-projection screen that he nearly discovers the ruse. Tom Cruise had insisted on filming these, as he was afraid that they didn't get the maximum amount of suspense from the scene. In the end, Brad Bird had the shots deleted because it just seemed too improbable that the guard could get so close to the screen without detecting it.
When Brad Bird agreed to direct the movie, he asked J.J. Abrams for the screenplay, and Abrams would be reluctant to show it to him, saying that Bird would have a lot of freedom in doing the scenes. After Bird finally asked Abrams for real for the screenplay, the producer admitted that they had several drafts, but nothing definitive at that point, and that Bird should take that opportunity to give as much input as he wanted. According to Bird, the script went through major changes even after the start of production. For instance, during the scene in the van after Ethan's escape from prison, the team was originally unaware of the situation and unsure how to proceed, which Bird blamed on the fact that even he did not have an overview of the plot. This was later re-shot when the direction of the plot became clear. The original scene can be viewed as a deleted scene on the Blu-ray edition.
The indoor water fountains in the Indian Palace use special laminar flow nozzles to launch streams of water with no turbulence. Special valves are used to "cut" the water into discrete segments. Similar fountain technology is used in the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas.
The only film in the franchise, where the opening credits involving the lighting of a fuse and the Mission: Impossible theme, is actually part of the opening sequence. In all the other movies, from Mission: Impossible (1996) to Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015), the opening credit is used as a cut between two scenes or two different events. Ghost Protocol is the only movie that makes the opening credit part of the action, by having one of the characters (Carter) light the fuse.
(At around one hour and twenty-eight minutes) In the scene when Ethan is taken to see the Russian arms dealer by the guy Ethan helped break out of the Russian prison, the wooden crates in the background are clearly stamped with the name, "Yu-ri" in letters from the Korean alphabet. Yuri (after Yuri Gorbachev) is the name often used in fictional and real-life spy books and movies to refer to Russian and/or Soviet spies, or the former K.G.B. in general.
(At around twenty-one minutes) Agent Carter releases a red balloon, with a camera attached to its knot, to drop a device within the outer walls of the Kremlin Palace. As the plot deals with Russian nuclear weapons, this is a nudge to the 80s German pop song "99 Luftballons", in which a flurry of red balloons pushes a trigger-happy general to launch several nukes and incite World War III.
Was originally targeted for a mid-May 2011 release, with J.J. Abrams to direct. However, pre-production delays and script re-writes delayed the film, while at the same time, Abrams was busy working on Super 8 (2011), prompting him to back out from directing, but still remain on producing duties.
In its 425-theater opening weekend, it grossed $13 million, setting the record of the highest-grossing opening weekend in less than 600 theaters (previously held by Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)).
The opening scene originally consisted of a younger Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist) preparing the speech about nuclear endgames, the one he can later be seen giving to Congress in Ethan's mission report. However, the scene didn't work as intended, and was scrapped in favor of a more action-oriented opening.
The cars visible in the moving-camera shot of valet parking in Mumbai are, in counterclockwise order from bottom left: Ferrari Enzo, Mercedes Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series, Bugatti Veyron 16.4, Ferrari F430, Aston Martin Vantage, Aston Martin DB9, BMW M6, and three white Rolls Royce Phantoms.
In Dubai, Tom Cruise is wearing a pair of glasses seen briefly in the train when the team is arming up for the mission. The same glasses are worn while scaling the hotel and are in fact Oakley Split Jackets, modified of course. They have clear frames with a special wind gasket and elastic strap which you can get for the standard models. Unfortunately, the glasses featured in the movie are one of a kind, and are not available to the public.
When Ethan Hunt makes his escape from the hospital, he lands on the roof of a van, causing the driver to jump the curb. When the driver jumps out to shout abuse at Ethan he yells "Yo-moyo!" a Russian exclamation of surprise, with no literal English translation, which is somewhat impolite. This is the exact same exclamation made by Chekov in Star Trek (2009), which was directed by J.J. Abrams, co-Producer of this film.
While the wind was a factor in Tom Cruise's self-completed stunt on the Burj Kalifah (though less of a problem than the massive force Cruise faced when he did a stunt hanging from a cargo plane in the next M:I film), the sequence used cables that were so strong and numerous (edited out of the shot with CGI) that the only way Cruise would have been endangered would have been having a plane slam into the building during filming.
Agent Carter is also the name of Hayley Atwell's character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which she is one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D. Jeremy Renner also plays a S.H.I.E.L.D agent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, known as Clint Barton, or by his superhero alias, Hawkeye. Also Ving Rhames appeared in the MCU, as Charlie-27 in Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2. On the opposite, Tom Wilkinson appeared as Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins (DC).
(At around forty-four minutes) When the Russian investigators are reviewing the files of the two prisoners who escaped from prison the same day as the Kremlin bombing, Ethan Hunt's false identity is revealed to be Sergei Ivanov. In real life, Sergei Ivanov is a Russian senior official and statesman.
During the Indian palace scene, Ethan's code name is Jupiter. In Roman mythology, Jupiter represents the Greek god Zeus, King of the gods. Jane goes by the code name Venus, which in Roman mythology, represents the Greek goddess Aphrodite.
There number 47 is seen or mentioned multiple times, most notably as the number of the train car Ethan and Brandt chase after, and the Pier where the team congregates after the mission. The frequent insertion of the number 47 is a common occurrence in sci-fi films and series, especially in the numerous Star Trek series. Simon Pegg stars in the Star Trek (2009) film series.
After the Kremlin explodes, Ethan is taken to the hospital where he eventually takes a paper clip off a stack of papers to pick the handcuffs he is in. After he escapes, Anatoly inspects the bed where Ethan was and a brief shot is shown of the paperclip twisted up in the keyhole of one pair of the handcuffs. This is accurate to real life. Paperclips can actually be used to bypass handcuff locks.
Brad Bird: [A113] Ethan uses the call sign "Alpha 113" and "A113" appears on Hanaway's ring. A113 is a frequent in-joke and Easter egg appearing in films produced by Pixar as well as films created by alumni of California Institute of the Arts, based on one of the room numbers for the character animation BFA program. Director Brad Bird is both a Cal Arts alumnus and Pixar movie director, and he has worked an "A113" reference into every one of his feature films, as well as some of his television work.
At the end of the film, Ethan receives instructions for his next mission, which involves a terrorist organization called "The Syndicate". This is a nod to the original Mission: Impossible (1966) television series, where The Syndicate was the Mafia-like crime empire used as an enemy for most of the I.M.F.'s domestic-based missions. It is also a heads-up for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015).
In an interesting nod to the first film, Ethan reveals to Brandt that the Croatia disaster and Julie's death were faked in order to flush out a mole. In the first film, Ethan is involved in the Prague disaster which was a mission with the same objective. And Ethan, like Brandt, wasn't aware of the real mission until people were dead. In both cases, details were revealed later by a superior. In Ethan's case, it was former I.M.F. Director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny).
(At around one hour and fifty-five minutes) The building grazed by the warhead, is the Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco's signature skyscraper. The windowless cap at the top is covered by aluminum panels, and is only decorative, containing no office space.
The busy downtown chase scene at night in India, as well as the near end scene where Ethan (Tom Cruise) and his "still-alive" wife make eye contact, were shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. The former around the downtown convention center, and the latter at "Granville Market". The scene in Moscow, where Ethan is informed about his mission and his team, was also filmed in Vancouver.
The only film in the entire franchise where Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames ) isn't a part of Ethan's mission. He appears at the end where he and Ethan meet up at a bar to catch up. He is reacquainted with Benji (Simon Pegg ) and meets Brandt (Jeremy Renner ) and Carter (Paula Patton ) before leaving and telling Ethan he will see him on the next mission. He would be a part of the team again in the next two installments.
(At around one hour and twenty-three minutes) Ethan Hunt sets up a meet with a Russian arms dealer over the phone, using a Dunhill lighter as the signal. This may be a clue that the meet isn't everything it first appears to be, as Jim Phelps used a Dunhill lighter in Mission: Impossible (1996). In fact, the audience learns after the climax, that Hunt intended for the arms dealer to rat him out to the Russians all along, so they would believe the actual plot.
At some point near the end of the movie character Kurt Hendriks says "May there be peace on earth". "Peace On Earth" is the sentence scrabbled on paper as a crossword by the insane General Jack Ripper in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) who decides to bomb Soviet Union in advance. The piece of paper is found out by colonel Mandrake, the second character interpreted by the great Peter Sellers.