Weekend Box Office: ‘Mission Impossible’ Was A Success While ‘Vacation’ Bathed In Sewage

Around the time Going Clear came out, there was a lot of talk about whether Tom Cruise’s status as the most public member of a group that allegedly keeps prison camps and makes slaves install his car stereo would keep people from seeing his movies. The answer, it seems, is “ha ha ha of course not.” Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (my review) easily led the box office this weekend with an estimated $56 million domestic, well ahead of expectations.

This was the second biggest opening for a Mission Impossible movie (behind John Woo’s ridiculous MI: 2 in 2000, with $57.8 million) and Tom Cruise’s third biggest all time, not adjusted for inflation. War of the Worlds‘ $64.9 million in 2005 was his biggest. With an A- Cinemascore and a 93% on RottenTomatoes, it seems Rogue Nation was even pretty well-liked, Scientology or not.

I honestly don’t think any of that stuff hurts Tom Cruise’s movies, or at least, certainly not this one. (It probably helps that he has non-Scientologist publicists now who never mention it, and “insiders” around him feeding rumors to tabloids about Cruise leaving the church). I think a commenter in my review put it best: “I love any movie where I get to watch Tom Cruise play Super Tom Cruise. His purity of intention and those tiny little pumping legs are the kind of magic that sprouts rainbows.”

About 62% of the audience was male, and 81% was 25 or older. [LA Times]

Elsewhere, in shocking news you’ll never believe, Vacation was a big disappointment. The $31 million budgeted reboot/sequel opened on Wednesday, earning $14.8 million for the weekend and $21.2 million for the five-day.

That’s well under initial predictions, which expected the National Lampoon sequel to reach $30 million over five days. [EntertainmentWeekly]

It played 53% female, 36% under 25, and 48% over 35 years old. [Forbes]

[Audience older than 35 awarded it a] B-, while the under 35ers [graded the film] an A-.  The under-18 demographic gave Vacation an A […]while the under-25ers gave it an A-. [Deadline]

“We had hoped that we would open at a higher level, but I think we might get there, just at a longer play,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ executive vice president and general sales manager. “There’s still a lot of head room left in the summer, particularly before college kids go back to school.” [LA Time]

Yeah, man, I bet the college kids are all sack-tapping each other out of the way to be the first to get to Vacation.

I didn’t get a chance to see it, but it blows my mind that the image they used on all the billboards and as the centerpiece of their marketing campaign was the scene where Christina Applegate rubs sh*t on her face and Ed Helms gargles sewage. A team of marketing people really thought that was the best scene? And no one overruled them? Who were they selling this movie to? Honestly, you couldn’t even come up with a sh*t joke that wasn’t a rip off of Naked Gun? I have many, many questions. In any case, it appears that it takes more than sh*t on a face to put butts in seats.

Next week brings us Fantastic Four, The Gift, Shaun the Sheep, and Ricki and the Flash, which may take the prize for worst trailer of the year.

They show her playing guitar at the wedding! Why would you need to see the movie after seeing that trailer? I’d really have to want to get lost in her rock and roll.