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#BoxOffice Report: Cruise Cruises to Easy #MissionImpossible Win

The star is back on top as Vacation's road was bumpy.

Story by Matt Cummings

Paramount's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation easily won the weekend box office with an estimated $56 million, ranking it as second all-time for a M:I movie - that honor goes to MI:II at just above $57m. The well received Tom Cruise follow up has been gaining traction among critics for weeks, although tracking numbers were actually painting it for a much softer opening of around $40m. Rogue Nation's final numbers represent the higher end of expectations, and could actually rise once all the numbers are in. A 9:50am screening on Sunday at a local theater actually saw several people waiting in line to buy a morning ticket. With support like that, it's possible we could see it become the No. 1 M:I film ever.

With a strong No.1 return, Actor Tom Cruise is definitely back as a bankable action star, perhaps the only one next to Dwayne Johnson. Rogue Nation opened with a strong $20.32m on Friday (which also included around $4.0m from Thursday evening shows), dropped a minor 3% on Saturday with $19.71m should on Sunday gross $15.98m. The film, bolstered by a strong cast, twisty, story, and some of the best action sequences of tyhe year, Rogue Nation received an 'A-' rating from CinemaScore, along with an impressive 93% audience and critic score from Rotten Tomatoes. Although it will also face competition over the next two weeks from Fox's Fantastic Four, Straight Outta Compton and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., none of those have enough core audiences; therefore, it's possible that a seemingly last-minute decision to move Rogue Nation to July was actually a stroke of genius that could see it play well through August.

Coming in a distant second was Warner Bros' Vacation with just $14.85m. The comedy re-launch did not match expectations, taking in that number over 5 days, arriving on Wednesday in the hopes of stealing some of Rogue Nation's thunder. That apparently didn't happen: damaging reviews, an 'R' rating, and poor audience feedback saw WB scaling back its numbers all week, with the Ed Helms/Christina Applegate feature eventually taking in 44% less than 2013's We're the Millers' $37.91m over the same five-day period. Although there's some suggestion that it could enjoy a longer run, we think that Fantastic Four and Man will be solid enough to quickly dislodge it. There simply isn't enough money out there for audiences to take a chance on a movie that scored a 'B' from CinemaScore (although we're surprised it scored that high), when other more (slightly) appealing stuff is about to arrive.

The closer race this weekend will actually be between third and fourth places, as Ant-Man and Minions vie for table scraps. Ant-Man has a late advantage, and should come in around $12.62m, although it was down a surprising 49% from last weekend. The good news is that it has grossed a very respectable $132.15m in just 17 days of release, off just 8% from 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger at $143.20m.

Minions won fourth place at $12.16m, but could actually beat Ant-Man before Monday arrives - there's less than $500,000 separating the two. It continues to enjoy good word of mouth, and has taken in $287.35m in in 24 days, just 3% behind 2013's Despicable Me 2 at $295.26m. Sony's Pixels rounded out the top five with an estimated $10.4m. That's a significant drop of 57% from last weekend, mirroring fan disappointment and critic's hammering of its juvenile script and performances by Actors Adam Sandler and Kevin James. With 10 days in the books, Pixels is running 42.5% behind the $79.39m gross for 2013's Grown Ups 2 and just slightly ahead of 2012's Battleship ($44.56m). That's not good company to be keeping.

In other box office news, the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck took sixth place with an estimated $9.69m, giving it $79.7m in 17 days. The Weinstein Company's Southpaw fell to the mat with an estimated $7.52m. The Jake Gyllenhaal sports drama hasn't gotten the buzz that critics hoped would help launch it into the top 5, down 55% from last weekend. Still, it's off to a solid (if somewhat disappointing) ten-day number of $31.58m , which is actually 22% ahead of 2012's End of Watch at $25.98m.

With the summer movie season closing this month, and numbers low across the board, audiences are definitely dictating this box office with their wallets, rewarding some (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation), and cruelly punishing those they consider unworthy.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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