How to Make TV Shows Into Movies

Christopher McQuarrie, the director of “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation,” was 5 years old when the television series ended its network run in 1973, but he grew up watching “Mission: Impossible” in reruns. “It was sort of iconic to me,” he said. The movie franchise spun off from the show has long since taken on a life of its own. “Rogue Nation” (July 31) is the fifth in the series, which rebooted in 1996 with Tom Cruise as the new character, Ethan Hunt. World-wide, the movies have made nearly $3 billion.

Three of the summer’s most-anticipated movies have small-screen sources. It’s part of the intensified mining of pop culture in the quest for the next billion-dollar franchise. Along with “Mission: Impossible,” there is Guy Ritchie’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”(Aug. 14) based on the 1960s spy series. Like the show, the movie is set during the Cold War. The film adds glamorous European locations, car chases and explosions, with Henry Cavill as the American agent Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as the Russian Ilya Kuryakin, working to thwart a nuclear attack by an underground group.

Doug Ellin’s “Entourage” (June 3) is an extension of the HBO series about Vincent Chase ( Adrian Grenier), a New York kid turned Hollywood star, and the friends who followed him. The series ended in 2011 after eight seasons; the film’s story picks up six months later. Now Vinnie is trying to be a big-time movie director. His former agent ( Jeremy Piven) is a studio head fighting him on cost overruns.

As television screens become bigger, and film stars like Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey and Maggie Gyllenhaal do television series, the distance between the forms is constantly diminishing. Why does TV continue to inspire movie dreams?…

Check out the rest of this article from the Wall Street Journal.