Tom Cruise takes ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ to new box office heights

tom cruise mission impossible fallout airplane stunt images 2018

Breaking an ankle on “Mission Impossible: Fallout” didn’t hurt Tom Cruise or Paramount‘s latest franchise entry as it topped the box office charts this weekend. This is the sixth film in the series, and not counting for inflation, the highest grossing opening weekend.

tom cruise injures himself on mission impossible fallout movie
Tom Cruise breaking his ankle during filming for Mission Impossible: Fallout.

Paramount Pictures had plenty riding on this film, and if it had gone differently, it would have been a commentary on the sad shape of affairs in Hollywood. Fallout got movie goers excited, and the rapturous reviews only helped.

After six movies, 22 years, countless bruises and a broken ankle, Tom Cruise’s death-defying “Mission: Impossible” stunts continue to pay off at the box office.

“Mission: Impossible — Fallout” easily took the No. 1 spot on the domestic charts this weekend. Paramount Pictures estimates that it earned $61.5 million from 4,386 North American theaters.

Not accounting for inflation, it’s a best for the long-running franchise, which has grossed $2.8 billion worldwide, and one of Cruise’s biggest too (just shy of “War of the Worlds’” $64.9 million debut in 2005). Internationally, the film earned $92 million from 36 markets which is also a franchise best.

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, “Fallout” has scored some of the best reviews in the series and has been in the news cycle for almost a year. Talk about the film started early, in August of 2017, when Cruise broke his ankle performing a stunt in London with video to prove it.

“Paramount was strategically perfect in their marketing and publicity game,” said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “They showed how important a star’s presence is in marketing the movie early on. Tom Cruise broke his ankle, and they made that into a positive for the movie — it fed the Tom Cruise ‘Mission: Impossible’ mystique.”

“I’m seeing the numbers come in from around the world, and they’re just fantastic,” Jim Gianopulos, who took over as Paramount’s chairman last year, said by telephone early Sunday from Greece, where he has a home. He credited Mr. Cruise, who did his own stunts, and Christopher McQuarrie, who directed and wrote “Fallout.” “It’s a mature franchise, but they have kept it incredibly fresh,” Mr. Gianopulos said.

The 22-year-old “Mission: Impossible” film series, which is based on the 52-year-old TV show, does not have the same financial power it once did. In 2000, “Mission: Impossible II” collected $86.3 million in initial domestic ticket sales, after adjusting for inflation. And profitability for “Fallout” is still a long way off. The film cost Paramount and its financing partners, including David Ellison’s Skydance Media, roughly $320 million to make and market worldwide.

The reception for “Fallout” was impressive nonetheless, improving on opening-weekend ticket sales for its 2015 predecessor, “Rogue Nation,” even after adjusting for inflation. (“Rogue Nation” ultimately took in $736 million worldwide.) “Fallout” also received stronger reviews — an achievement of critical importance for the franchise going forward; if audiences are satisfied with one sequel, they are likely to go to the next one.

Ticket buyers gave “Fallout” an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls. It was the highest grade in the franchise’s history.

The film’s success recertifies Mr. Cruise as an A-list star after wobbly turnout for his last drama, “American Made,” and the failure of his last big-budget film, “The Mummy.”

And Paramount now has undeniable momentum — something the historic studio, which is owned by Viacom, has not mustered in years. The unconventional thriller “A Quiet Place” became a smash hit in April. “Book Club,” aimed at older women, has been a sleeper success. Coming up later this year: “Nobody’s Fool,” a comedy that marks Tiffany Haddish’s first major role since her breakout performance in “Girls Trip,” and a spinoff of the “Transformers” series called “Bumblebee.”

Paramount is still in last place among Hollywood’s six biggest movie studios in terms of domestic market share, but Mr. Gianopulos has returned Paramount to modest profitability. He has also pushed ahead long-gestating movies like “Top Gun: Maverick,” which stars Mr. Cruise in a return to his role from the 1986 original and is scheduled for release next July.

“You’re always just a few good movies from turning things around,” Mr. Gianopulos said.

Many cinephiles bemoan sequels, but the masses still seem avid for them. Sequels have been No. 1 for the last seven weekends running: “Fallout,” “Hotel Transylvania 3,” “The Equalizer 2,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Incredibles 2” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” which placed first twice.

At the same time, nonsequels like “Life of the Party,” starring Melissa McCarthy, and “Skyscraper,” starring Dwayne Johnson, have fizzled. (“Skyscraper” has made up ground in China, where it has taken in $85.3 million.)

Second place went to “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” which fell 57 percent in its second weekend in theaters, to earn $15 million. It was a much steeper decline than the first film, which dropped only 36 percent between its first and second weekends.

Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer 2” slid to third with $14 million in weekend two, and “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” took fourth with $12.3 million.

The animated “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” a feature spinoff of the Cartoon Network television show about Robin and some of the lesser-known DC superheroes, was the only major film to open against “Fallout.” The Warner Bros. release earned $10.5 million and landed in fifth place.

The film earned positive reviews from critics and younger audiences, but also faced a fair amount of animated competition from both “Hotel Transylvania 3” and “Incredibles 2,” which is still going strong in its seventh weekend and headed toward the $1 billion mark. As of Sunday the Disney/Pixar sequel had earned an estimated $996.5 million globally.

But although $10.5 million might seem on the lower side, “Teen Titans” also cost only $10 million to produce.

“Family movies like this will play for a lot of weeks,” said Warner Bros.′ domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein. “The whole objective of this movie was to work with our cousins in other Warner units for brand identification.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

mission impossible fallout cast images

  1. “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” $61.5 million ($92 million international).
  2. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” $15 million ($26.6 million international).
  3. “The Equalizer 2,” $14 million ($1.9 million international).
  4. “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” $12.3 million ($31 million international).
  5. “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” $10.5 million ($1 million international).
  6. “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” $8.4 million ($11.5 million international).
  7. “Incredibles 2,” $7.2 million ($20 million international).
  8. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” $6.8 million ($10.9 million international).
  9. “Skyscraper,” $5.4 million ($17.7 million international).
  10. “The First Purge,” $2.2 million ($4.5 million international).

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

  1. “Hello Mr. Billionaire,” $129.5 million.
  2. “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” $92 million.
  3. “Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings,” $42.9 million.
  4. “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” $31 million.
  5. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” $26.6 million.
  6. “Incredibles 2,” $20 million.
  7. “Skyscraper,” $17.7 million.
  8. “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” $11.5 million.
  9. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” $10.9 million.
  10. “Illang: The Wolf Brigade,” $5.2 million.