As you may have heard, there will be no new “Mission Impossible” movie in 2024. After “Dead Reckoning Part 1” was a bit of a box office disappointment, Paramount et al decided to rejigger Part 2 with a different title and reshoots — some because of the strikes this year.
But surprise! The famous, thrilling “Mission Impossible” theme music, first written for the 60s TV show, can be heard almost constantly now in commercials. When I heard a little girl humming Lalo Schifrin’s legendary theme on a commercial for Etsy, a website for gifts, especially those for the holidays, I was a little surprised. Wasn’t this music used only for “Mission Impossible” movies?
So I called up Donna Schifrin, Lalo’s wife of 52 years, to see if she knew what was going on. (Lalo is 91 and has better things to do than speak with me!)
Donna says Sony Publishing can license the “Mission” theme as it pleases, they don’t have to ask permission. Apparently, they don’t ask Paramount, either. Donna says the music has been used occasionally for commercials, but she hasn’t heard it in years.
She told me: “I’m surprised. A lot of big international banks have asked for it, and they were turned down.” Nevertheless, she says, the music does surface from time to time in unexpected places, “Legally and illegally.” Donna noted that at one point Tom Cruise had asked that it not be used for anything but the movies so as not to dilute the brand. But as you’ll see below, the cow is out of the barn.
PS A couple of things about the Schifrins: ironically, Donna says they live across the street from the “James Bond” producers. How weird is that? Only in Hollywood, kids! I also brought up Lalo’s theme music from “Mannix,” which is sublime and has aged as well as “MI.” Donna said she’d pass along the kudos.
So we get to enjoy “Mission Impossible” this Christmas for Etsy, and maybe next year, too.
First, “Mannix,” then the commercials: