‘Mission: Impossible,’ ‘Vacation’ to kick off slower summer month at box office

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Box Office: ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ Tries to Prove Tom Cruise Still a Top Gun.

In the fifth installment of the two-decade old series, Cruise clings to the side of an Airbus A400 plane during takeoff, holds his breath under water for six minutes, and rappels down the side of the Vienna Opera House. To enhance his drop by, Cruise’s spirited Q & A with fans after a Rogue Nation Canadian premiere at Scotiabank Theatre was simulcast to 19 other Cineplex locations across Canada. For part six, he’ll likely have to strap himself to the undercarriage of a ballistic missile and go soaring across the Pyongyang skyline if he wants to top himself. Three years later, they’ve teamed up again on the best action movie of the summer, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.” Like the “Mission: Impossible” TV series, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, the movie sets up much of what you’re going to see during a snappy credits sequence. At what age would Cruise consider saying goodbye to the film franchise, which began in the summer of 1996? “I’m thinking about 90, then I’ll cap it off.

The action adventure is on pace to open to $40 million, a soft opening considering the franchise’s long history and its hefty $150 million pricetag. “It seems low to me,” said Eric Handler, an analyst with MKM Partners. “People seem to be turning out this summer for good movies and this is a good movie.” Some analysts think that number could rise to $50 million, particularly given that critics love the film and its elaborate, beautifully constructed set pieces. The first four movies earned more than $2 billion US world-wide, and Rogue Nation is tracking well enough to continue the box-office momentum. “Mission is a series I know really well but it doesn’t make it any easier,” he said of Rogue Nation. Those of us who still prize McQuarrie’s Oscar-winning script for “The Usual Suspects” know he likes to explain mysteries as he goes along, saving the big reveal for the final reel. That’s especially true “because there’s a tricky structure on this story.” In the special-effects-laden action flick, Cruise’s spy Ethan Hunt reunites with key team members; Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rames) who was absent in Ghost Protocol.

He plays fair with the viewer, except for a ludicrous sequence at the Vienna State Opera. (“Turandot” goes blithely on, despite assassinations and audible hand-to-hand combat in the wings.) And he doesn’t turn this story into a star vehicle for Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, who shares the laurels with others. If the domestic opening weekend fails to pass $50 million, expect Monday morning quarterbacking about whether or not Cruise is sliding off the A-list, given that his more recent pictures, “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Oblivion,” failed to generate much heat at the box office. Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson steals the picture as British agent Ilsa Faust, proving Hunt’s equal in cunning and combat and remaining an enigma up to the end. “M:I” veterans Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg all have significant supporting roles, and Alec Baldwin turns up as an MI-hating CIA boss forced to eat his harsh words. Hoping to get a jump on all the global espionage going down at the multiplexes, Warner Bros. and New Line will launch “Vacation” on Tuesday night.

The reboot of the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” series finds Clark Griswald’s son Rusty hellbent on taking his family on a cross-country trek to Wally World. I fly aerobatics,” he said. “Whatever I can do to really put the audience in the scene with the character and in the movie, that’s what I want, so whatever it takes. I never did understand why villainous Solomon (Sean Harris) changed sides, or how he convinced so many agents to join him – money, I suppose, though I had no idea who supplied it when the government that hired him stopped footing the bills. It’s an R-rated affair, complete with a dips in an excrement encrusted lake, shots of Chris Hemsworth’s Norse-god-like endowment and the opportunity to see Christina Applegate projectile vomit.

That aside, I questioned nothing, enjoyed McQuarrie’s ingenuity in construction, smiled occasionally at the jokes and admired Ferguson’s performance as the most interesting femme fatale in the series. Critics have been savage, but they hated comedy hits like “We’re the Millers” and “Identity Thief” with to no discernible box office effect. At this point, Cruise (a buff 53, showing a few crow’s feet but ideally cast) is playing an unconquerable superman, a megalomaniac willing to risk the lives of countless people because he believes in his own infallibility.

Baldwin’s character even delivers a monologue about Hunt’s magnificence: He can break any code, disguise himself as anyone else, win any fight, enter any guarded domain. They’re incredible, top to bottom, these guys.” Regarding his plane stunt, Cruise confessed to Jimmy Fallon Monday night, “I didn’t tell my family or friends or anyone I was doing it beforehand. In another harrowing scene, the actor is strapped to a huge Airbus A400M cargo plane for take off (and landing and flying in between more than 900 metres in the air – for eight takes). I want to entertain you!” In another scene, Cruise’s character has to dive into an underwater safe to retrieve the computer chip that will lead him closer to The Syndicate.

Harris makes an excellent adversary, smart and ruthless and a bit twitchy, He alone takes no part in the stunts; evil geniuses never enjoy getting their hands dirty. (That’s how we know action heroes can defeat them. A guy who can’t take a punch can’t take over a world.) It’s worth noting that the “M:I” franchise has employed five separate directors over 19 years: Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. However, it’s Cruise’s determined drive that has kept the Mission franchise running since 1996’s Mission: Impossible, a film that launched him into the grown-up zone. Three more Mission’s followed; 2000’s Mission: Impossible II, 2006’s Mission: Impossible III, and 2011’s Ghost Protocol which resurrected the series.

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