Paramount Pictures and Skydance ProductionsMission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the 5th installment in the $2.1B franchise, took flight overseas on Thursday with rollout beginning in such key markets as Korea, the UK, Mexico and Australia. The opening gross through Friday is a muscular $26.4M and the offshore frame is on track for about $60M. Coupled with an expected domestic debut of $52.5M, Rogue has lit the fuse towards a $112M opening worldwide session. In total this weekend, Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is tackling The Syndicate in 40 markets repping about 40% of the international footprint — in 20 of those markets, Rogue Nation is the star’s best bow ever.

rogue nation koreaIndividual territory breakdowns are not yet in focus, but Chris McQuarrie’s turn at the M:I helm is setting milestones in Korea, a powerhouse Cruise market. The frame there is projected at $16M. That would score the 2nd biggest opening ever for Paramount, behind Transformers: Dark Of The Moon; Cruise’s biggest ever opening; and the best for the Mission franchise. It’s also the No. 2 bow for a Western film in 2015. Since Rogue Nation began showing on Thursday, it has held the No. 1 spot locally and has seen increases in daily grosses — it is also running higher than the second frame of local smash The Assassination, per local industry reports.

In comps, the last film in the M:I franchise, Ghost Protocol, was Cruise’s biggest ever offshore hit with over $485M. It took over $50M in Korea which was the title’s 3rd biggest market outside the U.S. What’s more, last year’s Edge Of Tomorrow, a fantastic Cruise film that underperformed domestically, nearly tripled its take offshore. The biggest ex-U.S. play was China, but Korea was next with about $38M.

Cruise traveled to Seoul this week to premiere the film — the tireless star had earlier attended premieres in Vienna, London, and New York and is also doing Japan.

The top market overall for the Brad Bird-helmed Ghost Protocol was China with $107M. China opens Rogue Nation on September 8 and has particular skin in the game there with Alibaba Pictures Group investing an undisclosed sum in the actioner and collaborating with Paramount on online ticketing, promotion and merchandising for the Middle Kingdom release.

Also to keep an eye on will be Japan where Cruise performs very well (M:IGP $69M+, EOT $15M+). Paramount is opening Rogue Nation there next week, as well as in the key Russian and German markets. The 3rd session will add Brazil and France. We’ll update full weekend estimates tomorrow.