No Vacation for Tom Cruise as Rogue Nation Hits
By John Hamann
August 2, 2015
Two films debuted this weekend, and the reverse of the norm actually happened at the box office, as the good film triumphed and the bad film was handed its hat.
Welcome to August, everyone, where the box office tends to cool off somewhat. The lower box office returns occur as people go on vacation and find other things to do than go to the movies (people certainly did not go TO Vacation this weekend). Openers included Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the fifth in a franchise that has spanned almost 20 years and had earned three-quarters of a billion dollars domestically before the fifth film opened. Tom Cruise has had a rough go of it at the box office in the last decade, but is starting to show himself as one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood today – and not just on the marketing side.
Our other opener is the reboot of the Vacation franchise, a film that thought it had everything going for it, but obviously didn’t. This lazy, charmless comedy missed the dynamic that the original had, and instead relied on the gross out jokes that have worked before in recent comedies. Heading into the weekend, I thought North America would make a bad decision again and head out on this bad trip, but thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
The age of social media and instant information seems to be helping people make better choices at the movies. We saw a poorly reviewed film fail when Terminator: Genisys opened in third behind three- and four-weekend-old Inside Out and Jurassic World. It also happened the weekend before, when Ted 2 opened behind the same two films. If we go back to May, we saw similar results when Tomorrowland opened low over Memorial Day weekend and when Hot Pursuit shriveled up and died (I’ll wait while you look up "Hot Pursuit").
The moviegoer has made hits of very good films like Mad Max: Fury Road, Trainwreck and Inside Out, as well as good films like Jurassic World and Pitch Perfect 2. At no point this summer have we had to endure a Transformers or Ninja Turtles nightmare dominating the box office. The worst we’ve had to endure at #1 is San Andreas, and that was 50% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes and carried an A- Cinemascore. Moviegoers are picking the good movies this summer - and there are more good movies available – which shows that studios are growing wise to that trend. Of the two openers this weekend, one was 93% fresh and one was 23% fresh, and I am happy to report that good conquered evil again this weekend.
Our number one film of the weekend is Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and I think that with this release, it is finally time to lay off the Tom Cruise bashing. First off, the box office: Rogue Nation, or Mission: Impossible 5, got off to a decent start on Thursday with $4 million from previews. This was neither a good nor a bad result, as we can show similar box office figures from films that either opened to much more or less than that of Rogue Nation with a similar preview amount.