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"Mission Impossible" conquers weekend box office

For Tom Cruise and the "Mission Impossible" franchise, the missions might be impossible but success at the box office isn't.

"Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation," the fifth installment in the series, brought in an estimated $56 million in its opening weekend. This is the second highest opening since "Mission Impossible II" grabbed $57.8 million in 2000.

Even though the film was bumped up for release and shooting continued well into the spring, critics found the movie "relentlessly entertaining" and "surprisingly resurgent."

Rentrak's Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian said Cruise is to credit for making these films one of the longest-running viable franchises on the market.

"He created a new Tom Cruise in the minds of audiences. He came off as very approachable, funny, he did the lip synching with Jimmy Fallon. This is the playbook on how a star - who is also a producer on the movie - gets the word out about his movie," he said. "He's a marketing machine."

The Paramount and Skydance Productions film from writer-director Christopher McQuarrie cost a reported $150 million to produce and should have no problem making up its budget, especially with overseas earnings.

The film also did not appear to suffer from any Cruise backlash as a result of Alex Gibney's Scientology documentary "Going Clear," which came out earlier this year.

"The average moviegoer just cares about the movie," said Dergarabedian. "They're not thinking about that other stuff."

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.' "Vacation," went a bit off track. The $30 million film earned $14.9 million over the weekend and $21.2 million since opening Wednesday. Starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, the R-rated film was imagined as a continuation of the 1983 road trip comedy "National Lampoon's Vacation" when a now grown Rusty Griswold (Helms) takes his family to Wally World.

Critics were not kind to the raunchy comedy from first-time directors John Frances Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, and audiences as a whole didn't seem too thrilled either. According to exit polls, audiences gave the film a not-promising B CinemaScore.

Dergarabedian said that "Vacation" started out slow partially because "Mission: Impossible" dominated the conversation, but it has the potential to gain traction.

"That was a tough opening," he said. "We'll see how it does in the coming weeks."

Holdovers "Ant-Man," "Minions," and "Pixels," rounded out the top five. While the year-to-date box office is still up 8.3 percent, it was down significantly for this weekend from last year when "Guardians of the Galaxy" opened to a stunning $94.3 million.