Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt snatched first place by bringing in $56.2M in the opening weekend of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONE. This result fell short of the largest 3-day opening for the MI franchise, which was set by MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT which earned $61.2M in its debut from July 27 – July 29, 2018.
With $80.0M over the five days since its Wednesday opening, DEAD RECKONING PART ONE beat out the previous MI record holder for a five-day opening, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II which grossed $78.8M from May 24 – May 28, 2000.
This weekend’s gross was slightly below pre-release projections, which had assumed a “Cruise Factor” after his smashing success last summer with TOP GUN: MAVERICK, which earned $126.7M in its opening on Memorial Day weekend from May 27 – May 28, 2022.
Cruise enters the arena with high expectations. By just missing or just barely breaking franchise records with this latest MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, some may question if the world’s #1 movie star is slightly off his game.
Critics are raving about the film, with an extremely high 96% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while moviegoers are right there with them with an equally impressive 95% audience score. By comparison, TOP GUN: MAVERICK earned an equally impressive 96% critics score and 99% audience score.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies have always been highly rated, with the critic’s score coming in the 90s and the audience’s score in the 80s or 90s. Most actors would kill to have this type of response, but for Tom Cruise, this is taken for granted.
Despite this solid opening, much work remains since the production budget for the movie has climbed to $290M. DEAD RECKONING PART ONE needs to continue generating strong ticket sales in the weeks ahead in order to turn a profit. In a typical release cycle, this would be expected but this time around, the film has only none days alone before the most competitive weekend of the summer arrives with the 7/21 dual openings of BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER.
We expect the three-day opening for BARBIE to come in at approximately $100M and OPPENHEIMER to produce $40M-$50M. In addition, OPPENHEIMER will take most of the IMAX screens away from DEAD RECKONING PART ONE because of contractual obligations due to Christopher Nolan having filmed the WWII drama using IMAX equipment. This may make Cruise’s second weekend softer than it would otherwise have been, presenting more barriers to its reaching franchise-high results.
SOUND OF FREEDOM continues to shock the industry with its success, earning $27.0M in its second weekend, 37% HIGHER than the amount it earned in its debut last weekend. It is unheard of for a movie to have higher earnings in its second weekend in wide release, let alone an increase of 37%. This film continues to defy logic, having earned $85.5M in the 13 days since it opened on July 4th.
Angel Studios continues to promote the film using nontraditional methods in an effort to tap into new audiences. Earlier in the week, they launched a “pay it forward” campaign in which moviegoers who enjoyed the film are encouraged to buy tickets for friends, family, and even strangers.
This may be one of the key reasons why the gross for the picture went up in its second weekend. Another reason could be that some fans are so in love with the film that they went back to see it again. It has also maintained its 100% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Its trajectory going forward is hard to predict since all formulas are out of bounds when there is no drop in sales. Likely to go over $100M as early as next weekend, it would be one of the biggest surprises in years. Even next weekend’s openings of BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER may have limited effect on SOUND OF FREEDOM, due to its unique storyline and passionate audience. We expect the film to stay in the top five and continue to produce a solid box office.
Last week’s surprise first-place finisher INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR had a rough second weekend, falling to third place with only $13M in new sales, a depressing 61% decline from its strong opening. A decline of two places when facing only one new wide opening is a sign of weakness and calls into question the long-term outlook for this film.
After ten days, THE RED DOOR has earned $58.1M domestically and $90M+ worldwide, which is still VERY profitable for its studio Sony who spent only $16M to produce the film. It appears the box office for this film will pass INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, which earned $67.7M domestically in 2018.
INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY ran into MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE this weekend, falling 56% from last weekend to $12.0M and a fourth-place finish. It will almost certainly drop out of the top five movies next weekend and fade away from that point.
A best-case scenario for DIAL OF DESTINY will be for it to wind up with $180M domestically and $360M worldwide. After spending $275M on production, Disney will be at pains to turn a profit on the effort. Nonetheless, we are feeling nostalgic about Indiana Jones as we watch him ride off into the sunset, having delighted generations of moviegoers over the past 42 years.
ELEMENTAL continues to show signs of life, taking fifth place in its fifth weekend by earning an additional $8.7M, a small decline of 13% from last weekend. After a disappointing opening of $29.6M, the lowest ever for a Pixar movie, the animated feature has rebounded due to positive word of mouth and limited options for families with young children. Over 31 days, ELEMENTAL has now earned $125.2M domestically, which puts it ahead of LIGHTYEAR which earned $118.3M last year for its entire domestic run.
Elemental’s Weekend Drops
* Weekend #1 (6/16 – 6/18) – $29.6M
* Weekend #2 (6/23 – 6/25) – $18.4M (-38%)
* Weekend #3 (6/30 – 7/2) – $12.1M (-34%)
* Weekend #4 (7/7 – 7/9 – $10.0M (-17%)
* Weekend #5 (7/14 – 7/16) – $8.7M (-13%)
Not only are these drops relatively small, they are getting smaller with each passing week. This gravity-defying run may show that Disney selected a less-than-ideal opening date, putting it up against a murderer’s row of summer competition. Perhaps an early fall date with less direct competition would have produced better results.
From the world of specialty releases, Searchlight’s THEATRE CAMP grossed $270K in its limited opening in six theatres in New York and Los Angeles, an encouraging $45K average per location. This quirky comedy tells the story of lifelong friends who are drama teachers at a rundown camp in upstate New York. While the camp is standing at death’s door financially, the staff and students band together to mount a masterpiece performance with the potential to save the camp.
Tony Award winners Ben Platt and Molly Gordon perform in the lead roles. Critics and audiences are “just OK” with the film according to Rotten Tomatoes, with critics giving a 79% and audiences giving a 75%. Distribution will expand over the next several weeks as new locations are added on 7/21 and 7/28. Searchlight is hoping that this slow build will allow the movie to find its audience and maximize its gross.
While not as eye-popping a result as ASTEROID CITY’s $853K in its six-theatre debut on 6/16, THEATRE CAMP has the potential to do well at art houses in the weeks ahead. All movies playing in theatres this weekend earned $141.0M domestic, compared with $132.7M last year when THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER led all films with $45.2M in its second weekend.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 7/13
The first 27 weeks of 2023 have produced 112% of the box office earned at this same point in 2022, but only 80% compared with 2019.