Box Office Preview: 'Vacation' Gets a Jump on 'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation'

Vacation Still 5 - H 2015
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Vacation Still 5 - H 2015

The reboot of the iconic National Lampoon comedy franchise, starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, opens Wednesday.

Looking to get a jump on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, New Line's comedy Vacation is hitting the road early and opening in theaters midweek.

The comedy, hoping to restart the classic National Lampoon's Vacation franchise, begins rolling out Tuesday night in select theaters before playing everywhere Wednesday. Rogue Nation, returning Tom Cruise in the title role, opens nationwide Friday following Thursday-night previews.

Vacation stars Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth, and 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.

Tracking suggests the comedy will open in the $30 million-$35 million range for the five days. More bullish observers believe it has a shot at matching New Line and Warner Bros.' We're the Millers, which likewise opened Wednesday and earned $37 million in its first five days in August 2013. Vacation cost $31 million to make.

Rogue Nation, from Paramount and Skydance Productions, will win the three-day weekend with a debut in the $40 million range. That's ahead of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, although it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. Ghost Protocol played exclusively in 425 Imax theaters on its first weekend, earning $12.3 million. The following weekend, it launched everywhere, grossing $29.6 million.

Ghost Protocol, directed by Brad Bird, revitalized the spy-action franchise, earning $694.7 million globally, a series best. This time out, Christopher McQuarrie is in the director's chair. Cruise stars opposite Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin.

Rogue Nation, embraced by critics and costing $150 million to make, also makes a major play overseas this weekend, opening in 40 markets, or 40 percent of the marketplace (it doesn't debut until China until Sept. 9). Cruise remains a far bigger star overseas; his standing at the U.S. box office — at least among women — took a big hit after his couch-jumping escapade on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005.