Box Office: Early Tracking Soft for ‘Mission: Impossible’

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is banking on word of mouth to lift it above the box office pack.

Tom Cruise’s return to the high-flying, airplane-gripping world of espionage and adventure is expected to generate roughly $40 million when it debuts on July 31, according to pre-release tracking. That’s less than the first three “Mission: Impossible” movies did in their initial weekends, though it does beat the $29.8 million debut that “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” generated in its wide release debut.

Given the hefty pricetag, that would be a disappointing start, but if “Rogue Nation” plays like “Ghost Protocol” did, it could end up being a hit for Paramount, which is releasing the movie. “Ghost Protocol” was remarkably resilient, not dropping by more than 50% weekend to weekend until six weeks after it hit theaters. It ended its run with nearly $210 million at the Stateside box office.

Of course, “Ghost Protocol” also got a lift from critical raves and a Christmas release date that gave it more time to build up steam.

Analysts believe that “Rogue Nation,” which was filmed in such far-flung locales as Morocco and Austria, will perform well globally. BoxOffice.com’s Phil Contrino maintains that “Rogue Nation” could surpass the $694.7 million globally that “Ghost” made, setting a new record for the franchise.

“There’s a lot of goodwill left over from the last one,” he said. “International growth is so strong that even if it dips in North America, it could compensate for that overseas.”

Contrino thinks that tracking might be failing to capture audience enthusiasm for the picture in North America, and believes the picture could easily top $50 million in its debut. Facebook and Twitter activity around the film is impressive, he said.

“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” was originally slated to open on Dec. 25, but was moved forward in January in order to get out in front of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the new James Bond adventure “Spectre.”

“Rogue Nation” stars Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Alec Baldwin, and was directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who previously worked with Cruise on “Jack Reacher.”

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