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Mission: Impossible III


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Mission: aborted -- Cruise bruised at box office

By Dean Goodman


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Mission: Impossible III," the first big action film of the summer, opened disappointingly at the weekend box office in North American, despite a whirlwind publicity tour by its pricey star, Tom Cruise. The spy thriller sold $48 million worth of tickets in its first three days in theaters across the United States and Canada, distributor Paramount Pictures said on Sunday.

The Viacom Inc.-owned studio said the figure was within its expectations of a bow in the $50 million range, but it was gratified by the international showing, where it earned $70 million after opening virtually everywhere except Japan and India. The movie did bomb in Germany, where Cruise has historically had a tough time, the studio said. The movie cost just under $150 million to make.

Rival studios said they had expected the film to open to at least $60 million domestically. Industry analyst Brandon Gray at boxofficemojo.com said he had expected the movie to kick off with about $70 million, which is where the last two opened after adjusting for ticket price inflation. "A truly successful sequel needs to open bigger than its predecessor," Gray said, noting that follow-up movies usually burn out more quickly.

He doubted that Cruise's unconventional antics in the past year -- such as jumping on talk show host Oprah Winfrey's couch and his strident support of Scientology -- played a role in the film's performance, and instead blamed a marketing campaign that made the movie seem less fun than its predecessors. Comparing North American sales with those of the first two "Mission" films is complicated by the fact that those opened during Memorial Day holiday weekends at end-May when overall business was stronger.

The first film, directed in 1996 by Brian De Palma, earned an unadjusted $45.4 million during the Friday-to-Sunday period, but its figures would have been higher if not for Tuesday previews and a Wednesday opening. It ended up with $180.9 million. Four years later, John Woo's sequel earned $57.8 million for the same period, ending up with $215.4 million.

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Are you crazy boy! This was by far the best Mission Impossible of the series!!!!!!!!!!! I absolutely love it!!!! I agree on the car I wanted that car orange is my favorite color.

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