This weekend marks the return of Ethan Hunt and Rusty Griswold, and both Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation and Vacation are expected to make a healthy (if not enormous) addition to both franchises’ box office totals.
Here are our predictions for this weekend’s top five at the box office:
1. Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation — $40 million
To date, the Mission: Impossible series has grossed more than $2 billion worldwide since the original opened in 1996. The first Mission: Impossible debuted at the top of the domestic charts with $45.4 million — or about $83.5 million, adjusted for inflation. Paramount is eyeing a Rogue Nation debut closer to $40 million, but some are predicting that Tom Cruise’s latest adventure will go even higher, possibly even reaching the mid-50s. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and Rogue Nation currently boasts a 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rogue Nation reunites Cruise with Christopher McQuarrie, who also wrote and directed 2012’s Jack Reacher. (He also helped write last year’s Edge of Tomorrow.) Rogue Nation is expected to outstrip both of those, as Edge of Tomorrow opened to $28.8 million and Jack Reacher only debuted to $15.2 million.
2. Vacation — $20 million
Before its Wednesday opening (on the 32nd anniversary of the original), Vacation was expected to perform similarly to another late-summer, R-rated comedy: 2013’s We’re the Millers. The Millers also opened on a Wednesday, earning $37.9 million over five days and $26.4 million for the weekend. But so far, Vacation has only earned $3.8 million (including Tuesday previews), putting it on track for a slightly lower $30 million five-day period and a $20 million weekend.
The original National Lampoon’s Vacation spent three weeks at #1 in 1983, debuting to $8.3 million (about $21.5 million, adjusted for inflation). It went on to gross a total of $61.4 million, or about $158.3 million today.
3. Ant-Man — $12.7 million
Even though it opened below expectations, Ant-Man squeaked by Pixels last weekend with $24.9 million, hanging on to its first place spot for the second weekend in a row. Past Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have dropped an average of 49 percent in their third weekend, and if Ant-Man follows suit, it’ll bring in about $12.7 million.
4. Minions — $12.6 million
Minions crossed $750 million at the worldwide box office this weekend, and if it keeps up the pace, it could be the third Universal film to cross $1 billion this year. Still, Despicable Me 2 fell short of $1 billion, only (only?) earning $970.8 million globally, and despite its enormous opening, Minions has been dropping at a much faster rate than Despicable Me 2. DM2 fell about 35 percent in its fourth week, and Minions should see a slightly steeper drop of 45 percent this week.
5. Pixels — $10.8 million
Adam Sandler’s latest comedy opened short of expectations last weekend, and its $24 million debut wasn’t enough to secure first place. Sandler’s Jack and Jill had a similar opening of $25 million in 2011, and that film dropped about 55 percent in its second weekend. If Pixels does the same, it’ll bring in about $11 million in its second outing. But if Pixels sees an even steeper drop, there’s a chance it could fall out of the top five entirely, and Trainwreck could take its place instead.
•Tom Cruise tortured Simon Pegg for two days on the set of Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation
•How Tom Cruise pulled off that jaw-dropping Mission: — Rogue Nation plane stunt
•A quick guide to the different versions of ‘Holiday Road’ in Vacation