Weekend Wrap-Up

No Vacation for Tom Cruise as Rogue Nation Hits

By John Hamann

August 2, 2015

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It was clear that the preview figure was not a disaster by any means, which was further proved on Friday when Rogue Nation had a combined Thursday/Friday of $20.4 million. That’s a better first day than both San Andreas and Mad Max: Fury Road, which went on to open to $54.6 million and $45.4 million respectively. Rogue Nation just missed the opening day of Ant-Man, which took in $22.6 million and enjoyed an opening frame of $57.2 million. Rogue Nation was off to a very good start, as this was the best opening day of the franchise’s history.

The weekend total Rogue Nation came in at a better-than-expected $56 million from 3,956 venues from Paramount. The studio was looking for an opening weekend of $40 million, while tracking predicted a $45-50 million debut While this performance didn’t blow the cover off the tracking estimate, it did exceed expectations, and I think that Cruise, Paramount, Skydance and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot will be quite pleased with this result. With incredible reviews (93% fresh) and an A- Cinemascore, I think a 4.0 opening-to-total multiplier is definitely in play, which would bring the domestic total in at around $220 million. With a production cost of $150 million, a worldwide total of $450 million will be needed, along with a domestic score over $200 million. M:I 5 will be in position to repeat the performance of Ghost Protocol, which rang up $700 million at the worldwide box office.

Who’s to thank for this success, not only of Rogue Nation, but also Ghost Protocol? Tom Cruise. Since 2011, Mr. Cruise has delivered Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Jack Reacher, Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (one of the better films released in the last few years), and Rogue Nation, while recognizing the two backward steps with Rock of Ages and Oblivion (a film I liked more than most, and one that improves after repeat viewings). For Cruise, the time before was the time before, and this guy is obviously putting it on the line for his films. Whether it’s hanging off the side of an airplane, rappelling down the side of a glass tower, or doing some nutty things in Edge of Tomorrow, this guy puts in the work for his films.


Cruise is also is doing a better job of developing and/or picking scripts and surrounding himself with solid co-stars and top-notch people behind the camera. Christopher McQuarrie, who directed Rogue Nation, also wrote the screenplay for Edge of Tomorrow, as well as Jack Reacher. The next film for Tom Cruise is Mena, which re-unites him with Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman. For now, Cruise adds another strong entry to his lengthy resume, and this one will be financially successful.

The opposite end of the spectrum is a very distant second this weekend, in the form of the rebooted Vacation. This was a good idea waiting to happen, and when it was announced, I was excited to see what an updated version of this franchise could deliver. Vacation and Christmas Vacation are treasures I hold in the same regard as a film like Groundhog Day, and it felt like enough time had passed for the franchise to be made fresh again. I thought Ed Helms was a perfect Griswold, and that all was going to work out fine with the reboot. Boy, was I wrong.

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