MOL

Los Angeles

It’s almost 20 years after the original Mission: Impossible debuted in theatres in 1996, and Tom Cruise has proven he still carries plenty of star power.

The series’ fifth instalment - Mission: Impossible - Rogue nation - raked in an impressive $56 million at 3,956 locations this weekend, dominating the US box office.

Things were off to a good start as the Paramount/Skydance tentpole brought in $20.3 million on Friday, setting an opening day mark. Saturday’s total was $19.7 million, with the action flick’s launch outperforming forecasts by significant margin. Recent studio estimates had the Christopher McQuarrie-directed picture coming in at $40 million for the opening weekend. Rogue Nation marks the third largest opening for Tom, following 2004’s War of the Worlds, which earned $64.9M, and 2000’s Mission: Impossible 2, which brought in $57.8m. The Cruise-led picture also opened in about 40 percent of international markets with $65 million, led by South Korea’s $17 million. The latest instalment in the Mission: Impossible series finds Cruise facing off against a squad of special agents known as the Syndicate. ‘They have delivered a film that has such energy and excitement,’ said Paramount’s Vice Chair Rob Moore of the picture, which also stars Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Rebecca Ferguson. The action flick was one of the rare big budget films, with a $150 million price tag, that was moved forward in its schedule rather than backward this year. It was originally planned to be released on Christmas Day, but Tom asked during filming last August if it could be moved so as to avoid direct competition with the hotly anticipated new Stars Wars film - Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, hitting theaters December 18 - and James Bond’s Spectre, which debuts November 6.

The first four Mission: Impossible films have grossed over $2 billion, and in 2011, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol pulled in $209 million in the U.S. and $485 million internationally. Meanwhile, Rogue Nation’s outcome more than tripled that of New Line’s Vacation reboot, which fell below recent forecasts of $30 million.

Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man led holdovers in its third weekend with $12.6 million at 3,322 sites for a $132.1 million domestic total. Following was Universal’s Minions, in its fourth weekend, with $12.2 million at 3,575 locations to lift its 24-day total to $287.3 million. Pixels slid 57 percent to $10.4 million at 3,725 theatres in its second weekend, bringing the Sony Adam Sandler comedy’s 10-day total to $45.6 million. A24’s The End of the Tour launched impressively, however, with $126,459 in four locations. The drama stars Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as the reporter tasked with profiling the author. Overall, the box office for the weekend was down significantly compared with the same weekend a year ago when Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy opened with a stunning $94.3 million weekend.