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‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’ to top the box office with $50 million or more

A sixth movie in a 2-decade-old franchise would normally be a box office stunt as risky as one of Tom Cruise’s skydives.

Yet, like its 56-year-old star, the “Mission: Impossible” series has been a remarkable survivor at the box office, and is expected to continue that track record this weekend.

Paramount Pictures’ new “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” is projected to gross at least $50 million in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada Friday through Sunday, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys.

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That should easily top the domestic box office charts, surpassing Warner Bros.’ superhero cartoon “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” and holdovers “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” and “The Equalizer 2.” The latest “Mission: Impossible” opening comes a week after a tight race of the sequels in which Sony’s Denzel Washington-starring “Equalizer” follow-up ($36 million) narrowly beat Universal’s latest ABBA-centric jukebox musical ($35 million).

Here’s what to watch.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows characters, from left, Starfire, voiced by Hynden
A scene from ‘Teen Titans Go! To the Movies’
(Warner Bros.)

Mission: Doable

Paramount is hoping “Fallout,” which cost $178 million to make, represents a much-needed hit, as the Viacom Inc.-owned studio tries to mount a comeback under new leadership. The new movie comes after a long stretch of duds, with the exception of April’s horror movie “A Quiet Place,” which grossed more than $330 million worldwide.

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If the big-budget “Fallout” hits the target of $50 million to $65 million in its opening weekend, it would be on par with the other recent “Mission: Impossible” films starring Cruise as super spy Ethan Hunt. The previous installment, “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” opened with $55 million in 2015, and went on to collect $682 million globally, including $195 million in the U.S. and Canada.

“Rogue Nation” director Christopher McQuarrie returned to make “Fallout,” which has earned raves from critics (96% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes). The “Mission: Impossible” franchise has been a consistent winner for Paramount since 1996, keeping audiences interested with increasingly elaborate action set pieces. While making the new movie, Cruise jumped out of an airplane over the United Arab Emirates 106 times to shoot a key skydiving scene, composing the sequence from three selected takes.

DC gets animated

AT&T Inc.-owned Warner Bros. will try to draw kids to the multiplex with another movie based on DC superheroes. But this one is far removed from the dark and gritty cinematic universe of “Justice League” and “Suicide Squad.”

“Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” based on the Cartoon Network show that launched in 2013, represents a comedic take on the company’s venerable comic book library, featuring characters such as young Robin, Cyborg and Raven. The movie version, produced by Warner Bros. Animation (“The Lego Movie”), is expected to gross a moderate $15 million in its opening weekend, according to box office trackers.

“Teen Titans Go,” rated PG, offers a self-referential twist on the animated superhero genre by portraying teen superheroes who pine after the elusive Hollywood fame bestowed on the likes of Batman and Superman. The movie is well-timed for Warner Bros. and its sister cable network. The show’s fifth season premiered on Cartoon Network last month.

Elsewhere at the multiplex, Lionsgate will expand the release of the critically acclaimed “Blindspotting” into more than 500 theaters. The film stars Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs as two friends — one white, one black — coping with the gentrification of Oakland. Carlos López Estrada directed the film from Casal and Diggs’ screenplay. “Blindspotting” earned $336,000 from its limited release in 14 theaters last weekend.

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