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LOS ANGELES — "Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation" headed into the weekend expecting a $40 million opening in the U.S. and Canada, but Paramount Pictures Sunday reported its Tom Cruise film did even better, bringing in an estimated $56 million.

The film racked up $20.3 million in ticket sales Friday, and word of mouth propelled it through the weekend.

"We knew that we had a great movie," said Megan Colligan, Paramount's president of domestic marketing and distribution. "We made a decision at the end of January for this movie to open in the summer, but they were still shooting the movie way into spring. It was a Herculean effort to get this movie out."

The film, from Paramount and Skydance Productions, earned an A-minus grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore and a 93 percent positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. About 62 percent of the audience was male, and 81 percent was 25 or older.

Franchise: "Rogue Nation" logged the second biggest opening for the five films in the franchise, trailing only the $57.8 million opening for "Mission: Impossible II" in 2000. "Rogue Nation" also is Cruise's third best domestic opening ever, behind "War of the Worlds" in 2005 ($64.9 million) and "Mission: Impossible II."

Colligan said a lot of the film's success also goes to director Christopher McQuarrie.

"While all the movies in the franchise share the same pace and have certain similarity and brand recognition, there's the flair and touch the director brings to it that makes it special," Colligan said.

"Rogue Nation" made an additional $65 million in 40 other countries, including Mexico, Britain, Australia and South Korea. It is scheduled to open in China on Sept. 8. The four previous installments of the franchise have combined ticket sales of more than $2 billion worldwide.

'Vacation': Meanwhile, the comedy "Vacation," which rolled out in theaters Tuesday night, fell slightly short of tracking expectations. It earned $14.9 million Friday through Sunday, for a gross of $21.2 million since its release.

"We had hoped that we would open at a higher level, but I think we might get there, just at a longer play," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.' executive vice president and general sales manager. "There's still a lot of headroom left in the summer, particularly before college kids go back to school."

The film is a sort of reboot of 1983's "National Lampoon's Vacation" starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate.

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