This Weekend, A New Chase Or A Fifth Hunt?


Sequels and reboots, sequels and reboots. That’s summer in a nutshell, folks…and you’re getting the full nut-load this weekend with Warner’s “Vacation” reboot and Paramount’s fifth in the series, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.”

When we last saw the crew from “Vacation” they were in Vegas and their shtick was about as worn out as the leather seats at Gold Nugget’s $2 black jack table.  Luckily, rather than watch Chevy Chase flop his way through a fifth flick, Ed Helms has been called in to replace him as his grown-up son, Rusty Griswald.

Chase and Beverly D’Angelo make cameos, but this is Helms at the helm, front-and-center in his first real starring role in a major comedy. As a sidekick in “The Office” TV series and “The Hangover” franchise Helms has served the stories well, and he has also been busy landing bit parts, but this is really the first film he’s been asked to carry on his shoulders.

The $31M production scored a decent $1.2M in late-night previews on Tuesday, which is comparable to “We’re the Millers,” another R-rated WB comedy that went on to open with $26M over the weekend and $150M by the end of its domestic run.

Like “Vacation,” “We’re the Millers” didn’t have the best reviews, but did go on to play throughout August and September; something “Vacation” will have a chance to do as well.

With the relatively low-budget film estimated to make upwards of $30M over its first five days, matching its budget, it’s quite probable that this will successfully relaunch the brand, something most 80s remakes, like “Poltergeist” and “Footloose,” failed to do.

So let’s start brainstorming, shall we? Why hasn’t there been a “Hawaiian Vacation?” I mean, even the Brady Bunch went there. Or, better yet, “Vacation: Down Under.” Possibilities are endless, but if they really want to make serious cash, might want to go for “Vacation to China.” And if they want to get a little risqué, there’s always “Stay-cation,” where they don’t have to go anywhere at all.

Expected to top the weekend box office is Tom Cruise’s latest mission, “Rogue Nation.” While the “Mission: Impossible” movies are instantly forgettable (do you actually remember any of the plots?) they are solid action flicks, and perfect for late-summer entertainment.

As one of the best-reviewed films of the summer (currently at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes) it should easily top Paramount’s own low-ball estimates of $40M+ and probably get closer to $60M as it opens in 3,800+ theaters.

The interesting thing about this franchise is that like “Fast & Furious,” it seems to get better with age. In fact, the last installment, 2011’s “Ghost Protocol,” was the top grossing film of the series with $694M worldwide.

If this installment can gross a similar amount, not only will it justify the $150M budget, but also you can be sure they won’t wait another 4 years for the sixth installment.

Credit the strong supporting cast of Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg who showed up in “Ghost Protocol” and return for “Rogue Nation” as Cruise alone is not enough to propel this to new heights anymore. If the series continues to gain momentum, co-star selection will be a huge part of its success.


Weekend Estimates

  1. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – $57M
  2. Vacation – $25M
  3. Ant-Man – $13M
  4. Minions – $12M
  5. Pixels – $11M


CHOICE TV DINNER OF THE WEEK: Starz’ “Ash VS Evil Dead” (Oct. 31, 2015)

Groovy, baby. Ash is back and now on the boob tube for weekly adventures. Hmmm. May actually have a reason to watch Starz now. Only three months to figure out what channel that is.


INDIE SLICE OF THE WEEK: Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation” (Oct. 16, 2015)

It begins. Netflix, the world’s premiere online movie delivery service, is now stepping up and releasing films theatrically.  Landmark Theaters will distribute Cary Fukanaga’s (“Sin Nombre”) drama, which will go a long way in continuing to blur the lines of home and movie theater content. No doubt, this will be an interesting test module.


CLASSIC CUT OF THE WEEK: MGM’s “War Games” (1983)

Dabney Coleman and Matthew Broderick have never been better. Don’t mess with the WOPR!

“Shall we play…a game?”


Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at


“National Lampoon’s Vacation” Image Courtesy of Warner Home Video