Weekend Forecast: “Mission Impossible” to Top Summer “Vacation”

The fifth installment in the long running Mission Impossible series hits theaters and IMAX this weekend, the long awaited sequel to 2011’s surprise hit Ghost Protocol. This new installment, Rogue Nation, was originally set to release in December, but made the smart decision to move up to July to avoid competition with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will likely dominate for over a month after release. Great reviews and goodwill from the previous entry will likely translate to a very strong late summer debut this weekend.

Also opening is Vacation, the $40M remake of the 1980’s family comedy. This new film stars Ed Helms as the father, and seems almost identical to 2013’s We’re the Millers, which took in $37M over its five day start, en route to a fantastic $150M total thanks to strong word of mouth and a lack of competition. Vacation likely won’t come close to that total, and with a weak start on Thursday seems like it is going to miss $30M by a wide shot. It took in just $3.8M on Thursday, compared to the $6.7M start for We’re the Millers.

So how high is Mission Impossible going to get? Well, its hard to say, but likely somewhere in the $50M-$60M range. For one, Ghost Protocol opened to $29M over a December weekend, showing there is still obviously interest in the franchise. However is held extremely well, earning over $200M domestic and nearly $700M worldwide. That film has only gotten more popular on TV and Netflix, and this follow up seems very natural; Ghost Protocol had a poster featuring the wall climbing stunt, Rogue Nation‘s features the plane stunt. However it also seems to be going for a bit more of a serious, darker look as opposed to the somewhat lighthearted fun of Ghost Protocol. Believe it or not, a decent comparison is last summers Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A reboot that had a not-great-but-higher-than-expected debut followed by strong holds due to word of mouth now getting a bigger sequel with a more serious tone. That opened with over $70M from a $170M total (for Rise), meaning there’s a chance that Rogue Nation could do over $80M if it followed that pattern, though that seems somewhat unlikely.

While there is a tendency for summer sequels to winter films to lose a large chunk of their gross, Rogue Nation should be able to buck that trend thanks to how well received the previous film was and how strong the reviews are, with a 91% as of this writing. Look for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation to open with around $60M this weekend.

Among holdovers, Ant-Man will likely take a hit since its getting its first real competition this weekend, Paper Towns is likely to plummet over 65% this weekend given how massively front loaded it was, possibly taking in around $4M this weekend. Pixels will probably fall over 50% as well thanks to awful word of mouth and losing most of its IMAX screens this weekend. Southpaw will likely hold well thanks to its A on Cinemascore and lack of R rated competition. Trainwreck may fall a bit since its getting some R rated comedy competition from Vacation but still has a shot at over $100M domestic total.

Predictions

1. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – $65M

2. Minions – 15M

3. Ant-Man – $13M

4. Vacation – $12M ($21M Five Day)

5. Pixels – $11M

The Bottom Line

Mission Impossible has little competition and great reviews, not to mention goodwill from the previous film, so it should really be topping $60M this weekend. Vacation had some decent trailers and the original is fairly well known, so $30M would be a good start, even though at this point that seems nearly impossible.

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