Box Office: 'Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation' Cruising to $52.5M U.S. Debut

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation - H 2015

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation - H 2015

Elsewhere, New Line's 'Vacation' is a disappointment.

Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation is off to a pleasing start at the North American box office, where it grossed a franchise-best $20.3 million on Friday for a projected weekend debut of $52.5 million.

Friday's take is the best ever for a Mission: Impossible movie. The previous record was $16.6 million for Mission: Impossible II.

Overseas, the movie is even bigger, already grossing $26.3 million for an expected weekend launch of $60 million, putting the movie's global bow at roughly $112 million. Cruise remains a far bigger star internationally, where Rogue Nation scored the biggest opening day of Cruise's career in 20 markets. And in South Korea, it amassed $16 million, blowing away previous Mission titles and delivering Paramount its biggest first day behind Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It is also the second best showing of the year so far behind Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In a test of Cruise's star-power, there's been plenty of speculation as to how the big-budget film, costing Paramount and Skydance Productions $150 million to make, will fare in the U.S. At this pace, Rogue Nation will pose the second-best weekend opening of the series behind the second installment.

The critically acclaimed film, buoyed by an A- CinemaScore, is the fifth installment in the action franchise and is playing in 3,956 North American theaters. The Mission: Impossible movies have never opened to huge numbers, outside of the second film, which took in $70.8 million over the long Memorial Day weekend in 2000, including $57 million for the weekend itself.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the new Paramount and Skydance film sees Hunt and his team attempting to prove the existence of (and then stop) the Syndicate, an international criminal consortium. Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson also star.

Ghost Protocol, directed by Brad Bird, revitalized the spy-action franchise, earning $694.7 million globally, a series best. That included an international total of $485.3 million.

The weekend's other new wide player, Vacation, is doing less business than expected after opening midweek. The comedy, garnering poor reviews, earned $4.5 million Friday from 3,411 theaters for a three-day total of $10.8 million. It's tipped to gross $20 million for the five days, including roughly $14 million for the Friday-Sunday frame.

New Line spent a modest $30 million to make the reboot, starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth.

The movie is a sequel of sorts to the first National Lampoon's Vacation, directed by Harold Ramis, and picks up as Rusty Griswold (Helms), now grown, takes his own family on a vacation. Applegate plays Griswold's wife, while Mann will portray Audrey Griswold, Rusty's sister. Hemsworth will play Audrey's husband, an up-and-coming anchorman named Stone Crandall. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo make cameos.

Holdovers Ant-Man and Minions look to be in a close race for the number 3 spot, while Pixels is tumbling to number 5 in its second weekend. Jake Gyllenhaal's boxing drama Southpaw is holding well in its sophomore session and is expected to cross $30 million by Sunday.

7:37 a.m., Aug. 1: Updated with Friday box-office numbers.