There has been plenty of speculation that, nearly three decades after Top Gun propelled him to the top of the A-list, Tom Cruise has lost his box-office potency. Commercial returns for his recent movies Edge of Tomorrow, Oblivion and Jack Reacher were all soft, and his star presence didn’t seem to do much for musical Rock of Ages. So the prophets of doom will all be pausing to reflect now that Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has begun with a sturdy £4.33m plus £1.02m in Thursday previews. Those numbers are hardly a franchise best, but they are roughly equivalent to previous entries. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocoldebuted right at the end of 2011, with £2.71m plus hefty previews of £5.48m, giving a seven-day opening of £8.19m. The differences in the release strategies make it difficult to draw direct comparisons between the initial performances of the two films.
A more apt comparison is Mission: Impossible 3, which kicked off in May 2006 with £4.76m plus £614,000 in previews. Rogue Nation achieved similar numbers, although of course benefits from significant ticket price inflation in the intervening nine years. Outside of Mission: Impossible, Cruise’s last film, Edge of Tomorrow, began with £1.89m in May 2014, on its way to a flat £7.89m lifetime total. Given the creative strength of the film, many wondered whether a different actor could have pushed it to a higher number. That debate will continue, but as far as Paramount’s Mission: Impossible franchise goes, audiences are exhibiting an enduring affection for Cruise in the Ethan Hunt role.
The runner-up: Pixar
Suffering a drop of 52%, Pixar’s Inside Out earned £3.57m in its second frame, falling to second place. While that sounds a hefty tumble, it’s worth considering that the weather at the weekend was significantly sunnier than the previous rainy session, and most films fell by at least 50%. The number to keep an eye on is Inside Out’s 10-day total of £16.97m. That’s ahead of the lifetime totals of Pixar’s two weakest UK hits – Cars and Cars 2. After 10 days, Pixar’s last effort, Monsters University, stood at £8.63m, and Inside Out is nearly double that amount. The year before, Brave stood at £13.26m after two weekends of play, but an unusual rollout strategy means that this was in fact a 14-day figure in England and Wales, and a 24-day figure in the rest of the UK and Ireland. In any case, Inside Out is well ahead of that number.
A valid comparison for Inside Out is 2009’s Up, which stood at £13.92m after two weekends of play, on its way to a final tally of £34.6m. Disney Pixar will be hoping to push Inside Out to similar levels. However, Minions, from rival studio Universal Illumination, has already crossed the £40m barrier, with a sixth consecutive weekend at £1m-plus.
The nice hold: Southpaw
Apart from Secret Cinema’s The Empire Strikes Back, the only film continuing in the top 10 with a drop of less than 50% from the previous frame is Southpaw. The Jake Gyllenhaal boxing drama dropped a comparatively slim 32% despite the largely warm, dry weather that hampered the weekend box-office. Distributor Entertainment Films continues to support it with highly visible marketing, presumably encouraged by audience enthusiasm for the film. Southpaw has reached £4.04m after 10 days, and looks on course to become one of Gyllenhaal’s biggest UK hits.Read More…