LOS ANGELES • A sequel to a sequel to a sequel. A down-on-its-luck studio written off as a major player by much of Hollywood.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout, starring Tom Cruise, 56, and made by Paramount Pictures, could have easily turned into a sad commentary on the state of moviedom in the age of Marvel and Netflix.
Instead, Fallout received joyous reviews from critics, stirring lively ticket-buyer conversation online and taking in a stout US$61.5 million (S$83.8 million) over its first three days in North American theatres.
Overseas, the movie collected US$92 million.
"I'm seeing the numbers come in from around the world and they're just fantastic," said Paramount chairman Jim Gianopulos.
He praised Cruise, who did his stunts, and Christopher McQuarrie, who directed and wrote Fallout.
"It's a mature franchise, but they have kept it incredibly fresh," he added.
Still, the 22-year-old Mission: Impossible film series, based on a 52-year-old television show, does not have the same financial power it once did.
In 2000, Mission: Impossible II collected US$86.3 million in initial domestic ticket sales, after adjusting for inflation.
Profitability for Fallout is still a long way off. The film cost roughly US$320 million to make and market worldwide.
The reception was impressive, nonetheless, improving on opening-weekend ticket sales for its 2015 predecessor, Rogue Nation, even after adjusting for inflation.
Rogue Nation ultimately took in US$736 million worldwide.
Fallout also drew stronger reviews, with ticket buyers giving it an A grade - the highest in the franchise's history - in exit polls.
The success re-certifies Cruise as an A-list star after a wobbly turnout for his last drama, American Made (2017), and the failure of his last big-budget film, The Mummy (2017).
Paramount now has momentum, something it has not mustered in years. The unconventional thriller A Quiet Place became a smash hit in April. Book Club, aimed at older women, has been a sleeper success.
"You're always just a few good movies from turning things around," Mr Gianopulos said of the mission-possible vibe.