Forecast: 'Mission' Set to Take Off

by Keith Simanton

July 30, 2015

Saturday Update: Although we haven't heard directly from Paramount yet, other sources, mostly other studios, are reporting that Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation made $20M on Friday (which includes Thursday's $4M evening screenings) on the path to a $50M weekend. That would make the Chris McQuarrie directed Rogue the second best opening in the M:I series, only trailing Mission: Impossible II and its $57.8M weekend in 2000. There's a big, fat caveat to that, however, which is the cost increase of ticket prices from 1996, when the series began, to now.

In fact, adjusted for inflation and using the National Association of Theater Owners recently released Q2 average ticket price of $8.61, Rogue's opening weekend falls below the first three films in the series (Ghost Protocol, the fourth M:I opened up in a healthy limited release in fewer theaters so we'll leave that film out of this comparison).
Mission: Impossible - 1996 wknd: $45M - 2015 Adjusted $72.6M.
Mission: Impossible II - 2000 wknd: $57.8M - 2015 Adjusted - $92.4M
Mission: Impossible III - 2006 wknd: $47.7M - 2015 Adjusted - $62.8M

It is by far, however, the best opening for the McQuarrie/Cruise team. Valkyrie opened to a $21M weekend in 2008, Jack Reacher disappointed in 2012 with a $15M weekend and Edge of Tomorrow (where McQuarrie acted solely as a screenwriter) opened with $27.8M in 2014.

Forecast Update: Living up to the studio's estimates Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation opened on 2,764 screens on Thursday (starting at 8PM) and clocked in $4M in evening showings.

In its report Paramount makes comparisons to Mad Max: Fury Road, which had a $3.7M Thursday evening, on its way to a $45.4M weekend on 3,702 screens; World War Z, which earned $3.6M on its way to a $66M weekend on 3,607 screens; and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which earned $4.1M on its way to a $72.6M weekend on 3,967 screens. Mission is on 98 more screens than Fury Road and is getting equally rapturous reviews. That $40M opening estimate seems conservative.

Forecast: Paramount is estimating that Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, the latest offering from one of the last, semi-dependable, overseas box-office draws, Tom Cruise, will have a domestic opening of $40M on 3,800 screens.

That $10,526 per theater seems a bit shy for the fifth, very well-reviewed installment in the robust series. The first '96 Mission: Impossible opened with $15,085 in 3,012 theaters for $45.4M. Mission: Impossible II did about the same with $15,835 in 3,653 for $57.8M in 2000. Mission: Impossible III started to sag with $11,776 in 4,054 venues for $47.7M. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol rebounded when it opened the weekend of December 16-18 in 2011, making $30,083 per screen. It was a limited opening, however, on only 425 screens for a $12.8M weekend. In its second weekend, expanding to 3,448 screens, it made $8,572 per screen and a $29.6M total. Using Protocol's second weekend take the per-screen average of the last four Mission movies has been $12,817. If Rogue Nation can keep that average on its 3,800 screens puts it at $48.7M. The film's 93% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes indicates it could do just that.

On the other end of the vine is Vacation, the New Line reboot of the 1983 hit, National Lampoon's Vacation. This Ed Helms/Christina Applegate starrer is on track for a $29M weekend. Bad reviews, it has a 26% on the Tomatometer, 5.9/10 on IMDb and a Metascore of 33/100, appear to have scuttled what has been a fairly brilliant series of trailers and clips. It has already banked $3.8M from its Tuesday and Wednesday opening.

On 3,010 screens that Vacation projection of $29M averages out to $9,634 per screen. That's below other successful R-rated summer comedies such as 2005's Wedding Crashers ($11,589 on 2,925 screens for a $33.9M weekend) and Ted ($16,800 on 3,239 screens for a $54.4M weekend). Both those films had great word-of-mouth though. That's something Vacation is going to need badly and it's going to need it quickly.

Forecast (July 31 - Aug. 2)

1. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - $48.7
2. Vacation - $29M
3. Ant-Man - $15.5M (-37.8%)
4. Minions - $11.5M (-50%)
5. Pixels - $10.5M (-56.3%)

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This Weekend in Past Years:
2014 - Weekend Report: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Obliterates August Record
2013 - '2 Guns' Takes Top Spot, 'Smurfs' Struggles
2012 - 'Dark Knight' Beats Up 'Recall' Redux
2011 - Hail the Conquering 'Apes'
2010 - 'Other Guys' Arrest Audiences, 'Step Up' Gets Served, 'Inception' Lingers
2009 - 'G.I. Joe' Doesn't Roll Snake Eyes
2008 - 'Dark Knight' Soars Past $400 Million
2007 - 'Bourne Ultimatum' Accepted
2006 - 'Talladega Nights' Goes Fast to No. 1

2005 - 'Dukes' Charge the Top Spot, Emperors 'March' On

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