Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Madman almost breaks his neck for our amusement

One of these days, Tom Cruise is really going to hurt himself. It’s inevitable, isn’t it? Now in his 50s, the guy just keeps climbing skyscrapers and hanging from airplanes and almost letting someone stab him in the eyeball. We, of course, love him for it, and keep coming back for more, like the sadistic gluttons for foolhardy spectacle that we are. As Adam Sandler and Arnold Schwarzenegger struggle to put asses in seats, their star power waning by the project, Cruise regularly rejuvenates his career through less conventional methods—namely, by damn near killing himself for our ghoulish amusement.

Cruise damn near kills himself a few times in Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, the fifth entry in the commercially and creatively reliable film series. (Even that much-maligned second entry—the one with the doves and the Limp Bizkit tie-in track—is good for an adrenaline rush or two.) Buoyed by very good reviews, but also by the fact that Cruise strapped himself to the outside of an ascending airplane, Rogue Nation made a cool $56 million over the weekend. That’s in keeping with the debuts of the previous four M:I installments, and a sixth entry is already in the works, presumably offering Cruise the opportunity to ride a motorcycle into Niagra Falls or whatever. We’ll be there, marveling at his bravery/stupidity/insanity.

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In a distant second, the generally reviled Vacation failed to rejuvenate the series it’s attempting to reboot, possibly because Ed Helms didn’t put himself in mortal danger during the production. (The film made just $14.8 million, only a hair more than European Vacation debuted to on this same weekend 30 years ago.) Ant-Man, Minions, and Pixels rounded out the top five, each drawing about half the audience they did the week before, while the John Greene adaptation Paper Towns plummeted 63 percent, its current gross reaching a paltry $23.8 million. On the indie front, The End Of The Tour made a healthy $126,000 on just four screens—or about three times as much as that Lego documentary managed on close to a hundred screens.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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