Tom Cruise has managed to pull off his biggest stunt yet.
After six installments spanning two decades and a few injuries here and there, Mission: Impossible — Fallout has clinched the franchise's highest opening with an estimated $61.5 million in ticket sales from Friday through Sunday in North America alone. Factoring in international earnings — $92 million from 36 different markets — the latest Mission: Impossible flick amassed a total of $153.5 million, dethroning Mission: Impossible II, which debuted with $57.8 million back in 2000.
The massive debut is one of Cruise's personal bests, too. In 2005, War of the Worlds grossed $64.9 million in its opening week, while his 2013 flick, Oblivion, premiered at $37.1 million.
Written and directed by Rogue Nation filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie, Fallout follows Ethan Hunt and the IMF crew as they team up with the CIA to stop terrorists from carrying out a nuclear attack on the Vatican. Rounding out the cast are Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, Sean Harris, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, and Alec Baldwin.
Kyle Davies, president of domestic distribution at Paramount, credited word-of-mouth with the success of the latest installment.
"With an opening like this, we’re going to play well throughout the summer," he said. "Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie deliver a thrill ride that’s so real, and that’s creating word of mouth."
And it doesn't hurt that Cruise performed his own stunts (one even caused a brief postponement in production when he broke his ankle), which the studio credited as a major draw.
"There was a hunger for something real and exciting,” Davies continued. "There’s something very special and raw knowing that the filmmaker and star put it all on the line to create entertainment for moviegoers."
In an interview with Variety, box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian predicted we won't see the end of the Mission: Impossible franchise any time soon.
“There is a long track record that shows that they can rely on Cruise and his creative partners to deliver time after time," he explained. "As long as Cruise can keep delivering the goods, Mission: Impossible is an annuity that will keep paying dividends for both Cruise and Paramount for years to come."
The sixth installment has received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It garnered an A on CinemaScore and a 97 percent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the highest score of any Cruise movie.
"The most thrilling, entertaining, stand-on-your-feet-this-is-bananas blockbuster in recent memory," Barry Hertz of The Globe and Mail chimed. "Cruise is an unhinged stickman, outrunning the devil, the aging process, time itself. He will outrun us all," said Stephanie Zacharek of TIME Magazine.
And that he will. At the rate Cruise is going, we wouldn't be surprised if a Mission: Impossible 10 is in the cards.
Hey, no one's complaining.