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Mission: Impossible Saves Audiences From Mediocrity

August 4, 2015

Movie_Quality_Index_Data_20150803

 

 

7/31/2015 - 8/2/2015

Movie TitleIndex Value
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation82.67
Vacation39.00
Ant-Man73.67
Minions59.00
Pixels33.33
Trainwreck76.67
Southpaw65.00
Paper Towns61.00
Inside Out92.67
Jurassic World67.67
Misix Movie Quality Index Value65.07

 

Last week’s hiatus left us with some catching up to do, so no screwing around today. Let’s get right to making fun of Adam Sandler.

We were delighted to see Pixels (33.33 index value) finish second at the box office the last weekend of July, although the $24 million it made in its debut was still a little high for our tastes. Still, that’s the third consecutive Sandler movie that failed to win its opening weekend, and if you don’t count the animated Hotel Transylvania, it’s the fifth straight non-winner.

Unfortunately for everyone besides Sandler and his sycophants, Pixels broke the $100 million mark in worldwide earnings this past weekend — mostly coming from foreign markets — against a budget of just $88 million. How they managed to keep costs that low while using so much CGI is puzzling, although we imagine it had something to do with the script being written by Mrs. Framingham’s third-grade class in Massapequa, NY. So while the movie hasn’t done all that well, it isn’t the unmitigated disaster for which we hoped. Guess we’ll need to wait for The Ridiculous 6.

Speaking of ridiculous: The latest Terminator movie may actually finish in the black despite a lethargic domestic haul, a marketing campaign that blew up the plot twist and a title that made spelling bee champions the world over want to tear out their eyes. As of this past weekend, Terminator Genisys claimed more than $317 million in global earnings, with $230 million sourced from outside the United States. We feel conflicted about this:

 

The two aforementioned domestic disappointments bring us to this past weekend’s big winner: Tom Cruise. OK, yes, there were other people in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (82.67). Simon Pegg springs to mind. Also that guy from Avengers who can shoot arrows super great. But it’s hard to argue a case for anyone in Hollywood needing a hit more than Cruise. Ryan Reynolds maybe.

Anyway, M:I — RN ended up with more than $55.5 million in its debut weekend, beating early projections by a healthy margin. There are several reasons for this, the most important of which we like to think is the fact that it was actually a good movie, as evidenced by its index value of 82.67 — the fourth highest of the “summer” blockbuster season:

  1. Inside Out — 93.33.
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road — 91.67.
  3. Ex Machina — 83.33.
  4. Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation — 82.67.

 

The other contributing factor is the movie environment of the preceding couple weeks, which in condiment terms could best be described as some sort of Sriracha mayonnaise — better than blah but still just sort of alright. At the risk of alienating the Pixar fanatics, there hasn’t been a truly excellent tentpole release in a while. Trainwreck (76.67) was a pleasant surprise of the indie-movie variety, Ant-Man was somewhat Juicy Fruit-ish in its brief but ultimately forgettable enjoyment, and we’re sure the 10 theaters that showed Mr. Holmes were glad they did so.

Since Jurassic World smushed all comers in early June, these “blockbusters” recorded the following numbers in their initial weekend:

  • Ted 2 — 55.67 index value, $33.5 million.
  • Terminator: Genisys — 45.67, $27 million.
  • Magic Mike XXL — 62.00, $12.9 million.
  • Ant-Man — 74.33, $57.2 million.
  • Pixels — 32.33, $24 million.
  • Vacation — 39.00, $14.7 million.

 

Geez, we almost forgot about the Vacation sequel, as opposed to the movie audiences that almost ignored it entirely this past weekend. That turned out to be an excellent decision because Cruise and Co. brought the heavy artillery for the latest installment of a franchise that for all purposes deserved to die after the second one. Seriously, go back and watch Mission: Impossible II and be dumbfounded by the fact it’s the highest-grossing one in the series. Outside of a few stylish cinematographic choices, it’s pretty boring, and that’s why John Woo’s resume has been a little thin lately.

The latest M:I, however, fared extremely well critically and seems to be on its way to doing the same financially — at least enough for Paramount to get on board a sixth installment in the series. So it seems Cruise didn’t risk his well-being hanging off the side of a big fricking plane for nothing.

 

The weekend ahead: We honestly don’t know what to make of Fantastic Four. Director Josh Trank’s previous film — Chronicle — was outstanding, and the trailer for his big-budget debut seemed to indicate something along those lines. Then Fox bombarded us with television commercials featuring a Kanye West song from five years ago and made the movie look completely ordinary. As of now, this one’s a mystery, but our gut says to expect a fairly disappointing showing.

Shaun the Sheep, on the other hand, deserves your 10 bucks. It’s pulling down an impossible-to-ignore 100% on Rotten Tomatoes as of Tuesday afternoon, just a couple ticks ahead of the very well-received Inside Out. If you have some cash to burn at the movies this weekend, your best bet is a Claymation film with no dialogue starring a future sweater.

 

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