Everything old is new again this week, as two sequels — or one sequel and one reboot, or one sequel and one remake, depending on how you look at it — are the only new wide releases. Although one has had an entry in the recent (cinematically speaking) past, the other is yet another attempt to cash in on our nostalgic fondness for something from the ’80s. I can’t wait until the 2020s when we’re warmly looking back on all those ’90s movies.
Not that I have all that much residual fondness for the original National Lampoon’s Vacation. I don’t hate it; I know all the memes from it and recognize its cultural impact. There were just other comedies that made more of an impression on me back then. So the new Vacation, which explicitly ties itself to the original films by bringing back Chevy Chase and having Ed Helms play the grown-up son from those films, wasn’t exactly high on my must-see list. And it doesn’t appear to have been that high on everybody else’s either. Its Wednesday bow was only $800,000 more than what Ant-Man took in on its 13th day of release. It’s another baffling Wednesday release too. I really don’t see what was to be gained by a couple of extra weekdays that took away from what could have been a more solid opening weekend.
Of course, a more solid opening weekend probably still wouldn’t have been enough to defeat Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The previous entry in the series was the second-highest grossing installment, and there’s a lot of good will towards the film in general, and the last three in particular. The M:I films have nestled comfortably into being the American Bond, complete with the daring leading man the likable supporting cast. And Tom Cruise seems determined to eventually kill himself making one of these; he ran around on the outside of a skyscraper last time out, and now he’s clinging to cargo planes as they take off. If they gave Oscars for effort, Cruise would be an all-timer. And really, say what you want about his personal life, Cruise always gives 100% to anything he’s in, even if audiences don’t always buy into it (see the criminally under-seen Edge of Tomorrow). I don’t think there’s any risk of that here though.
Next week brings the last super-hero salvo of 2015, Fantastic Four, which nobody is expecting to do anything, really. I don’t think it’s even been screened for critics yet, which is never a good sign. It’ll probably be better than the Roger Corman film, but that’s not exactly something you put on the poster to pull people in.