‘Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble’ climbs to No. 1, ‘Va­ca­tion’ is a bust

The China Post - - ARTS - BY LIND­SEY BAHR

The stakes may be high for Ethan Hunt and his team in “Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble — Rogue Na­tion,” but it was hardly im­pos­si­ble for the Tom Cruise pic to con­quer the U.S. box of­fice.

The fifth in­stall­ment in the nearly 20-year-old film se­ries has earned US$56 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to stu­dio es­ti­mates Sun­day. Open­ing week­end au­di­ences were 62 per­cent male and 81 per­cent over the age of 25.

It’s the sec­ond-high­est open­ing for a “Mis­sion” film since “Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble II” took in US$57.8 mil­lion over Me­mo­rial Day week­end in 2000. Ren­trak’s Se­nior Media An­a­lyst Paul Der­garabe­dian said Cruise is to credit for mak­ing these films one of the long­est-run­ning vi­able fran­chises on the mar­ket.

“He cre­ated a new Tom Cruise in the minds of au­di­ences. He came off as very ap­proach­able, funny, he did the lip synch­ing with Jimmy Fal­lon. This is the play­book on how a star — who is also a pro­ducer on the movie — gets the word out about his movie,” he said. “He’s a mar­ket­ing ma­chine.”

The Para­mount and Skydance Pro­duc­tions film from writer-di­rec­tor Christo­pher McQuar­rie cost a re­ported US$150 mil­lion to pro­duce and should have no prob­lem mak­ing up its bud­get, es­pe­cially with over­seas earn­ings.

Be­sides gen­er­at­ing some of the best re­views in the se­ries, “Rogue Na­tion” was bumped up on the re­lease sched­ule from Christ­mas to sum­mer some­what last minute — even though they were still shoot­ing the movie well into the spring.

Me­gan Colligan, Para­mount’s pres­i­dent of world­wide dis­tri­bu­tion and mar­ket­ing, said that made ad­vance mar­ket­ing a chal­lenge.

“We had to be pre­cise in what we were do- ing and take some chances and live a lit­tle out­side the box. We knew how good the movie was,” she said.

Some of those un­con­ven­tional choices in­cluded screen­ing the movie be­fore it was fin­ished.

The film also did not ap­pear to suf­fer from any Cruise back­lash as a re­sult of Alex Gib­ney’s Scientology doc­u­men­tary “Go­ing Clear,” which came out ear­lier this year.

“The av­er­age movie­goer just cares about the movie,” said Der­garabe­dian. “They’re not think­ing about that other stuff.”

Mean­while, Warner Bros.’ “Va­ca­tion,” went a bit off track. The US$ 30 mil­lion film earned US$ 14.9 mil­lion over the week­end and US$ 21.2 mil­lion since open­ing Wed­nes­day. Star­ring Ed Helms and Christina Ap­ple­gate, the R- rated film was imag­ined as a con­tin­u­a­tion of the 1983 road trip com­edy “Na­tional Lam­poon’s Va­ca­tion” when a now grown Rusty Gris­wold ( Helms) takes his fam­ily to Wally World.

Crit­ics were not kind to the raunchy com­edy from first-time di­rec­tors John Frances Da­ley and Jonathan Gold­stein, and au­di­ences as a whole didn’t seem too thrilled ei­ther. Ac­cord­ing to exit polls, au­di­ences gave the film a not-promis­ing B Cine­maS­core.

AP

In this im­age re­leased by Para­mount Pic­tures, Tom Cruise, left, and Jeremy Ren­ner ap­pear in a scene from “Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble — Rogue Na­tion.”

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