Anecdotal evidence suggests a segment of the Australian population hasn’t forgiven Tom Cruise for divorcing Nicole Kidman or his couch-jumping antics and his Scientology beliefs.
The anti-Cruise factor seems to have dissipated, at least among cinemagoers, judging by last weekend's opening for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
The $150 million Paramount/Skydance picture amassed $5.15 million, including $137,000 in previews, up 21% on the 2011 debut of Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
In 27 of 32 international markets, the action-adventure co-starring Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner registered the biggest opening of Cruise’s career. (His personal best here is still The War of the Worlds’ $6.5 million in 2005).
Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote Valkyrie, Edge Of Tomorrow and Jack Reacher, which he also directed), the fifth instalment of the franchise rang up $55.5 million in the US and $64.5 million in the rest of the world.
Australian exhibitors were impressed with the opening, which accounted for 38% of the $13 million weekend receipts according to Rentrak.
Wallis Cinemas program manager Bob Parr tells IF, “I think most people have moved on in regard to the Nicole / Scientology factors. This film is so good in many ways but particularly because of Cruise. I expect word-of-mouth to give it some legs.”
Palace’s Far From Men, a drama set during the Algerian war starring Viggo Mortensen, Reda Kateb (A Prophet, Zero Dark Thirty) and Vincent Martin, bowed with a solid $112,000 on 19 screens, which takes its total including previews and festival screenings to $233,000.
The market for Asia films continues to thrive. Magnum Films' Chinese superhero comedy Jian Bing Man, which features cameos from Jean-Claude van Damme, conjured up a terrific $256,000 at just nine screens, a per-screen average of more than $28,000.
Mindblowing Films' Punjabi film Angrej, a romantic comedy set in 1947, opened with a lusty $238,000 at 17 screens. Eros Australia's Bollywood drama Bajrangi Bhaijaan has minted $1.5 million after its third weekend.
Marvel/Disney’s Ant-Man took the second spot despite falling by 46%, earning $1.7 million in its third outing, and has racked up $12.6 million.
Universal’s rom-com Trainwreck fetched $1.2 million in its second weekend of previews, banking $3 million before its launch on Thursday.
Transmission’s classy period drama Mr. Holmes eased by 32% to $344,000 in its second weekend on 91 screens, advancing to $1.16 million