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Can 'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation' survive the crowded summer season?

The 'Mission: Impossible' franchise has often performed well at the box office, but audiences have seen a lot of action movies arrive at the multiplex this summer. The new movie with Tom Cruise arrives on July 31.

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    'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation' stars Tom Cruise (l.) and Rebecca Ferguson (r.).
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The newest “Mission: Impossible” film will be released on July 31, heading into the competitive summer season. 

The “Mission” films star Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, who works for the Impossible Mission Force. The movies are based on the 1960s TV show of the same name and the first film was released in 1996, with a new movie appearing every several years since then. The newest, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” is the fifth. 

In the upcoming movie “Rogue,” the government is telling Ethan and his group (portrayed by actors Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner, among others) to retire, but Ethan and his IMF group are still determined to take down villains.

The first two “Mission” movies were big hits, with the second, 2000’s “Mission: Impossible II,” grossing even more than the first film. The third faltered a bit, grossing far less domestically than the second movie did.

But if there was any doubt that the franchise couldn’t continue in a strong way creatively, or that audiences didn’t want to see more “Mission” movies, the fourth movie, 2011’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” put them to rest. The film became the seventh-highest-grossing movie of the year (compared to the third movie becoming the fourteenth-highest of its year) and the film was also highly acclaimed, with some reviewers even selecting it as one of the best movies to be released that year, a rarity for a mainstream action movie. 

So is “Rogue” a guaranteed hit? The “Mission: Impossible” series name is still recognizable to many and so fans will still doubtless turn out. But “Ghost” was released during the holiday season, a somewhat unlikely choice. Other movies to be released that month included the romantic comedy “New Year’s Eve,” the comedy “The Sitter,” the animated film “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” and such awards season bait as “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” “War Horse,” and “The Iron Lady.” One of the only movies close to it in target audience and genre was the Robert Downey Jr. sequel “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” 

The summer movie season is, of course, a much more crowded place when it comes to action-heavy movies. Audiences can currently choose from such films as the superhero movie “Ant-Man,” “Jurassic World,” or “Terminator Genisys” (or “Pixels,” if video game action is their thing), to name only the movies currently in the domestic box office top ten. This summer has also seen the release of other action-heavy movies like “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “San Andreas 3D.” And recent Cruise-starring action movies that were released in the summer like 2014's "Edge of Tomorrow" and 2010's "Knight and Day" have faltered at the box office, though they obviously came without the "Mission: Impossible" name attached.

We’ll see this weekend if “Rogue” can survive in the crowded summer movie season.

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