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Box Office: Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission: Impossible’ Flying to $50 Million Weekend

Tom Cruise has been welcomed back to the nation’s multiplexes, with “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” heading for a U.S. opening weekend that could top $50 million, according to early estimates Friday.

That could be four times as much as that for the rebooted “Vacation,” which is underperforming with a projected Friday-Sunday total of $12.5 million and a disappointing five-day cume ar0und $19 million.

“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is dominating Friday business, with a first-day total of at least $20 million at 3,956 locations. That figure includes $4 million from Thursday-night preview showings.

Paramount’s fifth entry in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise has launched amid a marketing campaign with Cruise — one of the best promoters in the business — hitting the circuit to discuss the film and its eye-popping stunts, such as his clinging to the side of an Airbus A400 plane during takeoff.

The studio has been cautious in its guidance for the action-adventure, which carries a hefty $150 million budget, asserting that its tracking shows “Rogue Nation” on pace to open to $40 million over the weekend. Some analysts believe that number could top $50 million, given the strong critical support, with a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is set in Morocco, Austria and the U.K. as Cruise’s secret agent Ethan Hunt tracks down an organization bent on creating global chaos. The film bows in 40% of overseas markets with launches in Mexico, Australia and Korea.

Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson also star. Christopher McQuarrie directed from his own script. David Ellison’s Skydance produced with Paramount. Producers are Cruise, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger with Jake Myers exec producing.

Cruise’s three most recent films — “Edge of Tomorrow,” “Oblivion” and “Jack Reacher” — generated solid, rather than spectacular, box office earnings. His biggest recent success came four years ago when  “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” took in $209 million in the U.S. and $485 million internationally.

The four “Mission: Impossible” films have topped $2 billion in worldwide grosses.

New Line’s rebooted “Vacation” looks likely to make $4 million on Friday — about the same as its $3.8 million opening day on Wednesday. The raunchy comedy, starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, had been expected to take in as much as $35 million in its first five days but has been mostly unloved by critics, with a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Strongest support for the Friday showings of “Vacation” came from the under-25 demographic.

“Vacation,” which carries a modest $31 million budget, is launching 32 years after the original. Helms plays the grown-up Rusty Griswold, who decides to take his own family to the fictional California theme park Walley World.

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