By Dve McNary
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Tom Cruise's "Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation" dominated the U.S. box office this weekend with an impressive $56 million at 3,956 locations.
The Paramount/Skydance tentpole generated $20.3 million at the Friday box office, setting an opening day mark for the sturdy franchise - and signaling that Cruise still carries plenty of star power. Saturday's total hit $19.7 million.
The launch of "Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation" had been on track for an opening weekend of $40 million, according to recent studio estimates.
The fifth installment in the series, written and directed by Chris McQuarrie, finds Cruise facing off against a squad of special agents known as the Syndicate. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Rebecca Ferguson also star.
The first four "Mission: Impossible" films have grossed over $2 billion. In 2011, "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" pulled in $209 million in the U.S. and $485 million internationally.
"Rogue Nation" took in more than triple the Friday-Sunday total of New Line's "Vacation" reboot, which pulled in $14.9 million in 3,411 locations. The comedy, which launched Wednesday, has grossed $21.2 million in five days -- below recent forecasts of $30 million.
Still, the R-rated "Vacation" is a low-risk entry for New Line, given its $31 million budget. Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth star. It generated an A- Cinemascore among audiences under 25.
Disney/Marvel's third weekend of "Ant-Man" led the holdovers with $12.6 million at 3,322 sites for a $132.1 million domestic total. Universal's fourth weekend of "Minions" followed with $12.2 million at 3,575 locations to lift its 24-day cumulative total to $287.3 million.
Sony's second weekend of Adam Sandler's "Pixels" showed only moderate traction as the comedy slid 57% to $10.4 million at 3,725 theaters, bringing the 10-day total to $45.6 million.
A24's "The End of the Tour," which stars Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as the reporter tasked with profiling the author, launched impressively with $126,459 in four locations.
The overall box office for the weekend is down significantly compared with the same weekend a year ago when Disney/Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" opened with a stunning $94.3 million weekend.