Mission: Impossible - Fallout easily won the box office this weekend, scoring the franchise's highest opening in the process. Debuting in 1996, the action series has aged like a fine wine. Six movies in, the property is stronger than ever, with many considering Fallout to be the greatest action film in recent years. The widespread critical acclaim of previous entries Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation led to those installments earning well over $600 million worldwide, and similar results were expected for Fallout.

Going into its premiere, the thought was Fallout would break the opening weekend record for the Mission: Impossible series - and maybe even star Tom Cruise. With minimal competition standing in its way, the latest from director Christopher McQuarrie was able to stand tall and get off to a great start.

Per Box Office Mojo, Mission: Impossible - Fallout earned $61.5 million domestically in its first three days, which is a new best for the franchise. Previously, Mission: Impossible II had the brand's biggest debut with $57.8 million. The film also did solid business internationally, as its worldwide total is $153.5 million. With a production budget in the neighborhood of $180 million (minus insurance costs for Cruise's ankle injury), this is the haul Fallout needed to be on the road to profitability.

Obviously, the word-of-mouth played a key factor in this development. It has been a while since a live-action tentpole received widespread praise. Yes, Ant-Man and the Wasp is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and boasts the Marvel Studios pedigree, but the consensus was that was a lighter entry into the long-running franchise. Fallout is seen as a bona fide modern classic that demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible. General audiences were hungry for a film that live up to the hype and came out to support the IMF's next mission. Additionally, Fallout is the first M:I entry to be released in 3D, meaning it got a boost from the premium format prices. MoviePass may have blacked out Fallout this weekend, but plenty of people still got to the theater.

As the last major blockbuster film of the summer season, Fallout is in great position to have a lucrative run throughout August. There are some noteworthy wide releases that month, but few that jump out as direct competition for Mission: Impossible's target audience. By the time the film bows out of theaters, it very well could be the highest-grossing outing for Ethan Hunt - both worldwide and domestically. That will only increase the desire for a seventh "impossible" mission, though there's been no official word on that front just yet.