By John Hamann
August 9, 2015
As it turns out, Fantastic Four couldn’t even grab the #1 spot at the box office, although it was certainly the #1 story. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation repeats at number one following its strong debut last frame, when it earned $55.5 million. The goal for Paramount would have been a decline of 50% or less, and they achieved it. Rogue Nation earned $29.4 million this weekend, dropping a neat 47% in the process. The $150 million picture crossed the $100 million domestic mark on Sunday, its 10th day. That's two days slower than Mission: Impossible 2, one day faster than the original, and four days faster than Ghost Protocol (but that one opened in limited release for five days).
Overseas, it is doing even better business, so I believe a forecast of $200 million domestic and $350 million overseas is in the offing for Rogue Nation, making this another solid entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Domestically, the Tom Cruise film has earned $108.7 million.
Third spot goes to The Gift, one of the few pleasant surprises in the top ten this weekend. The Gift, from new distributor STX Entertainment, stars Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and Joel Edgerton, who also wrote and directed. The Gift earned $4.1 million on opening day, stronger than expected, and went on to carve out $12 million over its first three days. Tracking had been looking for a debut in the $7-$10 million range, so STX has to be pleased this one woke up to the good side. It did it on the super strength of the reviews. It earned a 92% fresh rating from all critics at RottenTomatoes and 95% from top critics. The Cinemascore was a B, but this one has a shocker ending that will divide audiences yet keep them talking.
STX got involved in this picture for only half of the film's $5 million budget, but paid all domestic marketing costs. That production cost is already easily paid back, but the marketing cost (which is tough to define) will take more time to cover. This is still a great investment for a first film, as the domestic result should equate to a push for the company before they send it off to Showtime and other home video outlets for a true profit. The next release for STX is The Secret In Their Eyes, with Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor. I hadn’t seen the Argentinian film it is based on, but wow, the trailer looks good, as Julia Roberts plays against type, and gets all revenge-y on the killer of her daughter. The Gift is a great start for the upstart company, and I look forward to other films they bring forward.
Fourth is the unfortunate Vacation reboot, which deserves to go in the same forgotten drawer that Fantastic Four will be put in. Vacation earned $9.1 million in its second weekend, and falls 38%. Made for $31 million, the Ed Helms comedy has now pulled in $37.3 million on the domestic side, and has yet to be released overseas.