Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was destined to open big in China. But just how big was the question with a Tuesday date and at a time where the Middle Kingdom appears to be focused on maintaining the dominance of local titles. The film, which the tireless Tom Cruise heavily promoted in the country, includes local giant Alibaba’s first investment in a Hollywood movie. It debuted to $18.5M today making it the No.1 bow for a U.S. 2D film ever in the Middle Kingdom, and the No. 5 start for a U.S. film of all time.
With the expansion in this market since 2011’s Ghost Protocol, it’s not surprising the opening is 116% above that previous entry in the franchise. However, MIGP opened on a Saturday, so this Tuesday number is notable.
Paramount and Skydance are the first ones into China with two films following the “unofficial” summer blackout period that saw Chinese movies grab a ton of real estate and admissions. In fact, local smash Monster Hunt is still on release after 54 days and counting. Currently at about $380M, one has to wonder if it’s being kept in theaters in an effort to beat reigning champ Furious 7‘s $391M.
Earlier this year, that film overtook Par’s Transformers: Age Of Extinction as the highest grossing film of all time in China. Today’s Rogue Nation news comes amid reports of box office ticket fraud that led to a local film (Hundred Regiments Offensive) boosting its take and pulling money from Par/Skydance’s Terminator: Genisys which was released on August 23. These reports have yet to be fully substantiated and Paramount is not commenting.
Nevertheless, we expect MIRN to do well in the Middle Kingdom, especially given Cruise’s efforts in promotion and with Alibaba’s involvement.
As for comps, Rogue Nation opened 246% ahead of San Andreas which similarly opened on a Tuesday; and notably per Par, 17% ahead of Jurassic World which bowed on a Wednesday.
Separately, the Xinhua state news agency reported today that China’s 2015 box office has already exceeded the 2014 total of 29.6B yuan ($4.6B). Chinese movies were worth 60% of the total.