August 1, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: $50M Weekend For “Mission” Possible; “Vacation” Dreary


MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (Skydance/China Film Channel/Alibaba/Paramount) set its sights at a $50M opening weekend in the US (you could tell because the studio claimed the target was in the $40Ms), and it seems likely to get there.  Preliminary numbers at Deadline give the 5th entry in the franchise a $20M opening day (incuding $4M from Thursday night), and if word of mouth holds–which it should–the weekend could be as high as $55M.  The only other Mission that can really be compared to Rogue Nation is 2006’s M:I3, because the first two opened on Wednesdays and the 4th played for a week in Imax theatres before going wide, and that installment had a $16.6M opening day (before Thursday night openings were the rule) and a $47.7M weekend.  More recently, Mad Max: Fury Road ran a $16.6M Friday into a $45.4M opening weekend.  Rogue Nation actually cost less than Fury Road, and should be considerably stronger overseas, which will likely make this quite profitable.  However, Rogue Nation will still find it a challenge to match the $209.4M US total of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

The news was less good for another elderly franchise, the attempted reboot of VACATION (New Line/Warners).  After earning $6.3M in its first 2 days, Vacation managed $4.4M on Friday, for a likely wan 3-day weekend around $13M.  Although the comedy had a relatively low $30M production budget, it carries the costs of the typically all-out Warners marketing campaign (probably at least $100M worldwide), making profit a distant goal.

MINIONS (Illuination/Universal) topped the holdovers, down 46% from last Friday to $4.7M, on its way to a $12.5M weekend that will put it near $290M by Sunday, still unlikely to catch Inside Out as the family movie of the summer.  ANT-MAN (Marvel/Disney) isn’t showing any of the holding power that Guardians of the Galaxy had last summer.  It fell 52% from last Friday to $3.5M, heading for a $12M weekend.  (Guardians lost only 40% on its 3rd weekend.)  Ant-Man is still on target to be the lowest-grossing Marvel-produced title, at around $155M in the US, unless you count the quasi-canon Incredible Hulk and its $134.8M.  TRAINWRECK (Universal) is still holding well, down 47% from last Friday to $2.8M, for what should be a $9M weekend.  It has a chance of hanging in for a $100M US total.

No surprise that PIXELS (Columbia/Sony) didn’t benefit from word of mouth, as it dropped 66% from last Friday to $3M, and will hope to reach $10M for the weekend.  Pixels is unlikely to get past $70M in the US, and will need enormous overperformance overseas to break even.  It’s a bit more surprising that SOUTHPAW (Wanda/Weinstein) took a 63% Friday-to-Friday pounding to $2.3M, with perhaps a $8M weekend ahead.  Its hopes of running through the rest of summer and sparking a possible awards run for Jake Gyllenhaal seem dimmer now.  PAPER TOWNS (20th), the very definition of “frontloaded,” plunged 75% from its opening day to $1.6M, with a $5M weekend and $35M US total ahead.

MR. HOLMES (Miramax/Roadside) expanded by about 30% to 901 theatres but still dropped 22% from last Friday to $600K.  It should have a $2M weekend and may get to $15-20M in the US, not a bad result for a modest film.  IRRATIONAL MAN (Sony Classics) expanded to 135 theatres and should have a quiet weekend per-theatre average of around $3K.  That’s below the $4500 average for Magic In the Moonlight at 170 theatres, but it is above the $2300 average for You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger at 118, suggesting Irrational will end up at around $7M in the US.

THE END OF THE TOUR (A24) had a bright start at 4 NY/LA arthouses, with what should be a $30K weekend average.  THE BEST OF ENEMIES (Magnolia) was slower, with a likely $7500 weekend average at 4.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."