Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” dominated the U.S. box office this weekend with an impressive $56 million at 3,956 locations.
The Paramount/Skydance tentpole generated $20.3 million at the Friday box office, setting an opening day mark for the sturdy franchise — and signaling that Cruise still carries plenty of star power. Saturday’s total hit $19.7 million.
The launch of “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” outperformed forecasts by a significant margin. It had been on track for an opening weekend of $40 million, according to recent studio estimates.
It’s the third-largest opening for Cruise, following the $64.9 million launch for 2004’s “War of the Worlds” and $57.8 million for 2000’s “Mission: Impossible 2.”
“Rogue Nation” also opened in about 40% of international markets with $65 million, led by South Korea’s $17 million.
The fifth installment in the series, written and directed by Chris McQuarrie, finds Cruise facing off against a squad of special agents known as the Syndicate. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Rebecca Ferguson also star.
“They have delivered a film that has such energy and excitement,” said Rob Moore, Pararmount Pictures’ vice chairman.
The exec noted that Cruise’s willingness to participate in the stunts — such as hanging onto the door of an Airbus A400 on takeoff — gave “Rogue Nation” an authenticity that resonated with audiences.
U.S. grosses from 369 Imax screens totaled $8.4 million, the third-best for a July domestic opening after “The Dark Knight Rises” and the final Harry Potter film. Premium large format outlets grossed another $7.3 million at 419 sites.
“Rogue Nation,” which carries a $150 million pricetag, is one of the rare studio tentpoles with a release date that was moved forward rather than backward. The original plan was to open on Christmas Day this year, but Moore noted that Cruise asked during filming — which started last August — if it could be moved up to avoid competing directly against Disney/Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which opens Dec. 18, and James Bond’s “Spectre,” which launches Nov. 6.
The first four “Mission: Impossible” films have grossed over $2 billion. In 2011 “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” pulled in $209 million in the U.S. and $485 million internationally.
“Rogue Nation” took in more than triple the Friday-Sunday total of New Line’s “Vacation” reboot, which pulled in $14.9 million in 3,411 locations. The comedy, which launched Wednesday, has grossed $21.2 million in five days — below recent forecasts of $30 million.
Still, the R-rated “Vacation” is a low-risk entry for New Line, given its $31 million budget. Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth star. It generated an A- Cinemascore among audiences under 35.
Disney/Marvel’s third weekend of “Ant-Man” led the holdovers with $12.6 million at 3,322 sites for a $132.1 million domestic total. Universal’s fourth weekend of “Minions” followed with $12.2 million at 3,575 locations to lift its 24-day cume to $287.3 million.
Sony’s second weekend of Adam Sandler’s “Pixels” showed only moderate traction as the comedy slid 57% to $10.4 million at 3,725 theaters, bringing the 10-day total to $45.6 million. The Weinstein Co.’s second frame of Jake Gyllenhaal’s “Southpaw” also lost momentum, declining 55% to $7.5 million at 2,772 sites for a 10-day total of $31.6 million, as did Fox’s sophomore session of “Paper Towns,” which fell 64% to $4.6 million at 3,031 locations, pushing its 10-day total to $23.8 million.
A24’s “The End of the Tour,” which stars Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as the reporter tasked with profiling the author, launched impressively with $126,459 in four locations.
The overall box office for the weekend is down 21.7% compared with the same weekend a year ago, when Disney/Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” opened with a stunning $94.3 million weekend. But the total summer box office is a comfortable 12.5% ahead of last year with $3.6 billion through Sunday, according to Rentrak.
Overall box office is up 8.6% to date in 2015 to $6.7 billion, Rentrak reported.