Mission: Impossible – Fallout Climbs up to No. 1

Tom Cruise, the AARP’s favorite action hero, is well known for doing most of his own stunts. Whether it’s hanging off a helicopter or scaling a cliff face or jumping from a building (which led to a broken ankle this time ‘round), Cruise is loathe to let a stuntman or CGI have all the fun.

This week, Cruise performed yet another remarkable feat of derring-do. He strapped Mission: Impossible – Fallout on his back, buckled himself in to a metaphorical fiscal trebuchet and hurled himself to the box office’s top spot for the weekend.

Impossible? Actually, no. Everyone pretty much knew that Cruise’s latest Mission: Impossible movie would wind up at No. 1. Each of the previous five M:I flicks have climbed to the top of the box-office mountain, too. Still, Fallout bested them all, cruising (ahem) to an estimated $61.5 million and topping the previous standout, 2000’s Mission: Impossible II ($57.8 million). Oh, and it’s Tom Cruise’s second-highest debut ever, trailing only the $64.8 million take his War of the Worlds reboot earned out of the gate in 2005. Risky business? Hardly.

Fallout scared away most would-be newcomers, which left a collection of holdovers to challenge M:I’s box-office supremacy. They failed. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again held firm to the second-place slot it debuted at last week, but its earnings slipped by about 57%, with the ABBA-themed sequel collecting just $15 million. The Equalizer 2, last week’s champ, lost even more of its audience (61%) and tumbled to third with $14 million. In its third week, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation packed another $12.3 million into its overstuffed carry-on bags (along with vials of complimentary shampoo) to finish fourth.

The weekend’s other major new release, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, didn’t go any farther than fifth place. The animated superhero flick, predicated on a Cartoon Network show, fell a bit below expectations and cleared $10.5 million or thereabouts. (Too bad, given Teen Titans’ relatively cleanish vibe and 90% “freshness” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which technically makes it one of the best flicks in the D.C. superhero canon to date. Justice League, take note.)

So, enjoy your time at the top, Mr. Cruise. Next week, should you choose to accept it, you’ll have a taller task ahead of you: Three new wide releases will be vying for your crown.

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