Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

August 4, 2015

They just saw the slate for the Republican debates.

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Kim Hollis: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation debuted with $55.5 million. What do you think of this result?

Jason Barney: I’d like to take a wide view of this opening and identify something that happened earlier in the summer. Paramount rolled the dice on the Terminator franchise and the result was a lot less than they hoped for. All of the data in today’s market place says producing sequels to popular established franchises is the fastest and easiest way to make money. With Arnold and Terminator they didn’t get the results they wanted and now, once again, the future of that franchise is being called into question.

With this opening of Rogue Nation, Paramount has gotten exactly what they wanted. They will probably get a little more than they expect, actually. The Mission: Impossible movies have a lot going for them and are the definition of what studios need to invest these days for quick, sure money. What helps here is that the installments are usually pretty good, and regardless of what many people continue to say, they have one of the most bankable stars in the business as the main character.

Even if Cruise’s most recent efforts have been mildly successful, Paramount will see a massive profit from Rogue Nation when all is said and done. People can argue that Cruise’s star power is waning, but tell that to the execs at Paramount who are smiling all the way to the bank right now. Edge of Tomorrow and Oblivion were movies worth seeing and could/should have done better. The last time Cruise worked with Paramount, in 2012 on Jack Reacher, the company earned a lot of money. They spent $60 million and when international receipts were totaled, the film brought in $218 million. Rock of Ages is his only pure miss, recently.

Before that you have 2011 and Ghost Protocol, the excellent fourth installment of the franchise. Paramount spent $145 million and worldwide return was almost $700 million. My guess is you will see similar numbers here. Paramount spent about the same money and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rogue Nation approaches or equals the total of Ghost Protocol.

Is Tom Cruise what he once was? No. Duh. Yes, he has Knight and Day on his resume, but Paramount has what it wants with this actor and the Mission: Impossible Franchise. They are already in talks to develop the next one.


Ben Gruchow: I'm of two minds about this, one negative and one positive. On the negative side: because I don't believe for a second that Paramount's forecast was as low as $40 million for this opening until right before the release date, and if you look at tickets sold, this comes in either last or second-to-last among the franchise (depending on whether or not you count the weekday sales between Ghost Protocol's first limited weekend and second wide weekend).

Positive: Ticket sales always decline over time, for everything, and Rogue Nation is a good movie. For what it is, Paramount made a very wise decision in moving this from December 25th, where it likely would've gotten lost among Star Wars, Spectre, Mockingjay 2, In the Heart of the Sea, etc. (even if for no other reason than audience exhaustion), to the end of what turned out to be an incredibly slack July. The budget was kept reasonable, and Jay brings up an excellent point in that the franchise has been fairly decent and consistent as far as quality.

Where does it land from here? This is a little tricky, because the M:I series entries have shown legs and lack of same, and they appeal to multiple audience segments. I think 30-31% as an opening-to-total multiplier would be about the best the release date and current movie-going environment would give, and I'll knock it down a few percent for the critical reception and the fact that that's going to draw in some audiences that otherwise wouldn't go (my dad sent me a text yesterday morning asking me whether he should see Rogue Nation or Mr. Holmes, and he's not generally one to go for the blockbuster in that equation; the fact that he even asked means that the reviews have had an impact). I'm going to choose a path similar to 2004's Bourne Supremacy, and assume a 29 percent opening to total multiplier, which would give us a final domestic total of around $193-195 million.

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