A pre-SPECTRE look at The Year of the Spy’s box office

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation's teaser poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’s teaser poster

At the worldwide box office, The Year of The Spy has had one breakaway hit so far before the movie that’s a virtual lock to be the No. 1 spy film. That, of course, would be SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film due out this fall.

The breakaway hit to date is Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, with an estimated worldwide box office of $656 million through Sept. 20, according to the BOX OFFICE MOJO WEBSITE.

Parmount originally scheduled the M:I film for Dec. 25, just a week after the new Star Wars movie. Paramount, the studio that controls the M:I franchise, changed the release date to July 31. The box office results have proven a smart move for executives at Paramount.

The movie fifth M:I film with Tom Cruise has been helped by ticket sales in China that have exceeded $100 million, ACCORDING TO FORBES.COM.

Another winner was Kingsman: The Secret Service, with a worldwide box office EXCEEDING $410 MILLION, including almost $282 million outside the United States. It was based on a comic book by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons which wasn’t exactly well known among the general public.

Other spy entries include Taken 3, the last of a three-film series, at $325.8 million worldwide  and the Melissa McCarthy comedy Spy at $236.2 million.

Lagging the others was director Guy Ritchie’s version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., released on Aug. 14 in the U.S., with an estimated worldwide box office of $99.5 million as of Sept. 20.

That’s not enough to recover the estimated $75 million production budget plus additional marketing expenses, which included, among other things, a May press junket in Rome. U.N.C.L.E. was the biggest loser from Paramount’s release date change for Mission: Impossible Rogue Agent.

SPECTRE will be the big finale for The Year of The Spy. The 007 film is coming off 2012’s Skyfall, the first Bond film to cross the $1 billion box office mark on an unadjusted basis. SPECTRE will not only be the most costly 007 film, it will be one of the most expensive movies of all time, with a production budget of $300 million or more.

M:I Rogue Nation box office surges past $500M

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation's teaser poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’s teaser poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’s worldwide box office surged past the $500 million mark this weekend.

The fifth installment of the series starring and produced by Tom Cruise was No. 4 at the U.S. box office for the Sept. 4-6 weekend with an estimated $7.15 million, according to data compiled by BOX OFFICE MOJO.

The movie’s total U.S. take is now an estimated $180.4 million, with estimated foreign box office of $328.7 million, for a combined total of more than $509 million.

M:I Rogue Nation originally was slated for Dec. 25, but Paramount moved up the film to July 31, getting it out of the way of Walt Disney Co.’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, expected to be a huge hit.

The movie most affected by Paramount’s release switch was another spy film, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The U.S. ticket sales for that film have stayed below M:I’s every week since U.N.C.L.E.’s Aug. 14 release.

U.N.C.L.E. finished No. 7 in the U.S. for the weekend, at $3.445 million. It’s now at $39.4 million in the U.S. and $85.4 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie still is being released internationally, including mid-September in France.

U.N.C.L.E.: 2d U.S. weekend is good news, bad news

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

UPDATE (Aug. 26): The final second weekend figure for U.N.C.L.E. was $7.3 million, a 45.5 percent decline from the debut weekend, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO.

ORIGINAL POST (Aug. 23): For The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, its second U.S. weekend had good news and bad news.

Relatively speaking, it was better than average in one key respect.

The Guy Ritchie-directed film will decline this weekend by an estimated 45 percent to $7.4 million, Exhibitor Relations SAID ON TWITTER. It called the results “respectible.”

A falloff of at least 50 percent between the first and second weekend is expected. A decline less than that is considered above average.

The U.N.C.L.E. movie’s cumulative U.S. box office is an estimated $26 million, Exhibitor Relations said.

The final weekend figures come out on Monday.

For perspective, the No. 1 movie at the box office, for the second weekend in a row, was Straight Outta Compton. It had estimated ticket sales of $26.7 million, a 56 percent decline from last weekend, Exhibitors Relations SAID IN A SEPARATE TWEET.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, meanwhile, IS COMING IN AT NO. 2 at about $11 million. The fifth M:I film with Tom Cruise was released July 31, two weeks before U.N.C.L.E.

The U.N.C.L.E. film is in the midst of its international rollout. Variety reported in 2013 its production budget was $75 million.

Guy Ritchie says Brad Pitt was his choice for (older) Solo

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt

Director Guy Ritchie, talking on A PODCAST, says Brad Pitt was his first choice to play Napoleon Solo in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie.

Had Pitt, 51, been cast, his version of Solo would have been older compared to a younger Illya Kuryakin, Ritchie said. The American actor “told me to piss off,” the director said of Pitt.

Ritchie didn’t provide a time frame when all this occurred. He confirmed (as he did in other interviews) that Tom Cruise, 53, was indeed considered to play Solo before opting to concentrate on Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation.

“Mission: Impossible interfered with the process,” Ritchie said. “He (Cruise) was occupying too much of the same space.”

Also, as he has done in other interviews, Ritchie says actor Henry Cavill, 32, was considered to play Kuryakin, but the director felt Cavill didn’t look right with blonde hair. Armie Hammer, who turns 29 this month, ended up with the role. Also, in the Ritchie-directed movie, Solo and Kuryakin were depicted as being roughly the same age, the same as the 1964-68 original series.

One other notable quote about the U.N.C.L.E. movie from Ritchie: “We’re more about (Harry) Palmer than we are about (James) Bond.”

To listen to the podcast, CLICK HERE. The U.N.C.L.E. quotes occur after the 31:00 mark.

M:I Rogue Nation has biggest spy opening of 2015 so far

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation's teaser poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’s teaser poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation had the biggest U.S. opening weekend so far in “The Year of the Spy,” according to box office estimates released Sunday, VARIETY.COM REPORTED.

The fifth movie in the M:I film series generated estimated box office of $56 million, making it the top movie at the box office this weekend, Variety.com said. The final figures will be reported Monday.

M:I Rogue Nation’s performance was substantially better than early “tracking numbers” two weeks ago of a $40 million opening.

The movie also came in considerably higher than other spy films released earlier this year: Taken 3’s $39.2 million, Kingsman: The Secret Service’s $36.2 million and Spy’s $29.1 million.

Producer-star Tom Cruise made his first M:I movie 19 years ago. the previous entry in the series, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, was released in 2011.

The Deadline: Hollywood website WROTE FRIDAY that M:I Rogue Nation had benefited from good reviews. According to the ROTTEN TOMATOES website, the film had a “fresh” rating of  93 percent for reviews and a 92 percent audience rating.

Next up for the Year of the Spy is The Man From U.N.C.L.E. on Aug. 14, which will be challenged to come close to M:I Rogue Nation’s opening. SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film that’s due out this fall, is all but certain to have No. 1 spy opening.


The ‘Hunt’ for Bond — M:I connections to 007

Spoilers after second paragraph.

A Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation poster

A Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation poster

By Nicolas Suszczyk, Guest Writer

It is uncertain if Tom Cruise wanted to join the Bondwagon in 1996 when his first Mission: Impossible film debuted, one year after the successful return of James Bond to the big screen in GoldenEye.

But thing is certain: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, the producer-star’s fifth movie based on the 1966-73 TV series, features a number of connections, intentional or not, with Bond films starring Daniel Craig.

Feel free to omit the over-hyped pre-titles scene of Cruise’s Ethan Hunt hanging of a plane on mid-air that reminds us of what Roger Moore (or one of his stunt doubles) did with Kamal Khan’s plane in Octopussy, or Hunt’s stylish exit shortly after when he activates the parachute attached to nerve gas tanks similar to Bond and Kara’s escape from the Hercules plane in The Living Daylights.

Moments later, a new character is introduced: Hunley, the CIA director played by Alec Baldwin, questioning the IMF’s procedures and asking to a Senate committee for the force’s disavowal. This character is somewhat reminiscent to Mallory, played by Ralph Fiennes in 2012’s Skyfall and now returning in SPECTRE.

Action moves to Vienna, to a performance of the opera Turandot. What is seen here could perfectly be a mash-up between Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, with Hunt fighting one of his enemies and trying to prevent a sniper shooting the Austrian chancellor, all as the play ensues.

Not to mention the shots of Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) preparing her weapon hidden in a clarinet are very similar to those of Patrice doing the same at the Shanghai tower, before shooting his victim.

(Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation may also owe a debt of gratitude to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much, which featured an attempted assassination during a concert.)

M:I Rogue Nation composer Joe Kraemer’s music is somewhat close to “African Rundown,” composed by David Arnold for 2006’s Casino Royale, when a high-speed bike chase comes along between Hunt and Ilsa through the Moroccan roads.

The IMF agent is stopped in a unique way – the woman stands right in front of him. Ethan crashes and falls in order to avoid her, a bit similar to the way Eva Green’s Vesper was tied on the road to make Bond (Daniel Craig) crash his Aston Martin DBS.

Just like in Skyfall, London is also used prominently in the film, including the last action scene that features Jens Hultén, who played one of Silva’s henchmen in the 2012 film. Solomon Lane himself, the villain played by Sean Harris, has a loose connection with Silva by being also a former British agent.

In another scene, the prime minister (actually Ethan Hunt in disguise) menaces MI6’s head Attle (Simon McBurney) with an enquiry, a situation Judi Dench’s M faced in Skyfall, too.

A big wink to the first Sam Mendes’ James Bond film is given right before the closing credits: Hunley, admitting his mistake, asks for the reactivation of the IMF. As the committee reinstates the force, Brandt (Jeremy Renner) addresses him as “secretary,” very much like Mallory becoming M at the end of Skyfall.

REVIEW: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation's teaser poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’s teaser poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation won’t disappoint fans of the five-film, 19-year-old series.

Daredevil stunts, including many performed by star-actor Tom Cruise? Check. Lots of plot twists and turns? Check. Familiar supporting players such as Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner doing their thing? Check.

Whether the movie reaches out to a broader audience (as was the case with previous entries) remains to be seen. Still, Cruise & Co., aided and abetted by screenwriter-director Christopher McQuarrie, keep things fresh enough to hold the viewer’s attention. There’s also a new character played by Rebecca Ferguson to keep both cast and audience guessing.

There are a number of clever bits, including a twist on “The Syndicate,” a mysterious, shadowy group. In the original 1966-73 series, the Syndicate was another name for the Mafia. McQuarrie and co-plotter Drew Pearce devised an interesting twist on the concept, one consistent with darker, more cynical 21st century movies.

One of the best things about the movie is the score by Joe Kraemer. The composer embraces the Lalo Schifrin music template of the original show (which extends beyond the iconic theme). Kraemer comes up with a compelling sound while acknowledging what Schifrin started almost a half-century ago.

Kraemer’s score is somewhat like the musical equivalent of writing a sonnet or haiku. Kreamer follows the M:I template but is also original while using the occasional Schifrin riff. Schifrin even gets a credit in the end titles for one of his pieces of underscore from the series, while the main titles includes a credit for his M:I theme.

For spy-fi fans, there’s enough worth watching. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation may not break a lot of new ground, but there are enough tweaks on the margin to keep things interesting. GRADE: B.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 207 other followers