Mission Impossible 3 – Mission Failed

A few days ago I put up an article where I asked if the jackass antics of Tom Cruise was going to effect the box office performance of Mission Impossible 3. I said it would. I also said it would probably come in with about $40 million on opening weekend. For the record, it got $48 million.

Now lets keep in mind that to ALMOST any other film release, an opening weekend of $48 million is a magnificent showing. ALMOST any other film. Mission Impossible 3 had much higher expectations coming in. Movie Industry analysts pegged the third installment of the franchise to take in upwards of $65+ million.

Keep these other factors in mind:
– Mission impossible 2 made over $57 million on its opening weekend back in 2000… and that with LOWER ticket prices.
ALSO, look at the weak competition that MI:3 just opened against: Hoot, An American Haunting, RV and Stick it (only RV made over $10 million).
ALSO, this was the first major “blockbuster” film release of the summer.
ALSO, this one is getting better reviews than either of the first 2 MI movies.
ALSO, the movie could ride on the coat tails of the recent Oscar win buzz for Hoffman.
ALSO, the film had the 4th largest release of all time showing on over 4000 screens

Yes, all the ingredients for a $65+ million opening weekend were there… except for one sour lemon that got in the mix… Tom Cruise and his off screen tomfoolery that has turned a LOT of film goers off of both him and his movies.

Just before the release of War of the Worlds, I was interviewed by a Florida newspaper about all the Tom Cruise wackiness. The reporter asked me if I thought his antics would hurt WOTW. Here’s what I said:

“I think what we’re going to see is what I call “The Russell Crowe Effect”. Audiences will be turned off by Cruise, but the effect doesn’t happen right away. Our film culture is a pretty forgiving one, so it takes an A list start to be a jerk consistently over a period of time before the backlash is really seen. So no, I don’t think Cruise will negatively effect War of the Worlds all that much, but I do think that if he keeps this pattern of behaviour up, we’re going to see the beginnings of a movie goers revolt against him in his third Mission Impossible flick. We’ll have to wait and see”

The revolt has begun.

Yes, $48 million is a fantastic opening for almost any other film… but even the studio execs with their brave faces are admitting a failure here. This film was positioned to make far more, with far more people seeing it. Everything it needed was there… but so was Cruise… and that kept many away. Viva La Revolution!

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