Weekend Box Office (July 31- August 2, 2015)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND At age 53, and after many ups and downs over his three-decade-plus career, Hollywood veteran Tom Cruise is looking to score one of his biggest opening weekends ever with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. The PG-13 spy thriller enters the marketplace after a string of other recent action hits, but carries with it plenty of buzz, terrific reviews, and the promise to give moviegoers exhilarating summer escapism.

Cruise's signature franchise - and career in general - was reinvigorated with 2011's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol which became a megahit the old school way. It made crowds happy. Finishing up with nearly $700M worldwide, that good will should carry into this new chapter. Known for over-promoting his films, Cruise has been doing his salesman duties without having moviegoers get sick of him.

Audience interest is there, MI5 should skew more towards adults, and cross-gender appeal is solid. Strong reviews will be a big factor with sales. And with no holdover likely to reach $15M this weekend, the road is clear for Rogue to race ahead of any other movie. IMAX will provide a nice boost as will promo partners like BMW which in recent weeks has been blurring the line between movie commercial and car commercial. Opening in 3,956 locations starting with Thursday night 7pm shows, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation may debut to about $56M this weekend.

Joining the party of R-rated summer comedies is the new Vacation which is part reboot, part sequel. The Warner Bros. title continues the story from the four previous Chevy Chase vehicles from the past three decades but centers around the son's character who is now grown with a wife and two kids of his own. Christina Applegate co-stars along with a host of supporting players including Chase and Beverly D'Angelo who reprise their now-grandparent characters.

Direct competition will come from Trainwreck which has been satisfying audiences and is broadening out beyond its core female audience. Reviews for Vacation have been bad which is no surprise, but will still sting. A midweek bow is designed to get word of mouth going in hopes of pumping up excitement for the weekend when more of the target audience is free. But this lacks must-see buzz and it has been slow out of the gate. Now playing in 3,310 theaters, Vacation might debut to about $16M over the weekend and $23M in five days.

After two weeks at number one - a rare stint for a July non-sequel - Ant-Man will get bumped out of the top slot by Ethan Hunt. Still, Marvel and Disney have fared well with the tiny hero and could see a 50% slide to about $12.5M this weekend. That would raise the cume to $132M.

Adam Sandler's Pixels is one of the funnyman's most expensive films and has been underperforming domestically. A 55% fall may be in order giving Sony about $11M for the frame and just $46M to date. Minions has been fading fast so it may lose half of its weekend take to roughly $11.5M. The total is still enormous and should climb to $286M on its way to a possible $1.1 billion worldwide beating Despicable Me 2.

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Watch the trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.

LAST YEAR Marvel knocked it out of the park and showed how bulletproof its brand is with Guardians of the Galaxy which bowed to a stellar $94.3M on its way to $333.2M becoming the biggest blockbuster of the summer. Disney found its way to a $774M global haul. Lucy dropped to second with $18.3M and was followed by the James Brown biopic Get On Up which opened in third with $13.6M finishing with $30.7M for Universal. Holdovers Hercules and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes rounded out the top five with $11M and $8.7M, respectively.


Last Updated: July 30, 2015 at 3:35PM ET

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