Sequels continue to be one of the hardest equations to figure out in Hollywood these days. Just about every successful film gets a follow-up, but not every one of those follow-ups can recreate the magic of the original. This weekend will see Tom Cruise return as Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, and the film is already off to a solid (albeit modest) start with Thursday night showings.

Jack Reacher

According to a new report from THR, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back had a fairly strong showing at early Thursday night screenings. The action sequel -- which officially opens wide today -- took in roughly $1.3 million during its first night in theaters. Based on current projections, Never Go Back is currently tracking for an opening weekend gross of $20 million when all is said and done.

This performance generally seems to line up with what we have come to expect from a Jack Reacher movie. Produced on a similar budget, the original Jack Reacher opened to roughly $15 million when it debuted back in December 2012. Over the course of its theatrical run, the film garnered $80 million domestically, and $218 million at the worldwide box office. If Jack Reacher: Never Go Back can come close to matching that performance, then we have a feeling that all parties involved will walk away happy.

While that Thursday night gross and subsequent opening weekend projection are nothing to scoff at, it's becoming fairly clear that Jack Reacher: Never Go Back isn't destined for total blockbuster status. The film still has a ways to go in order to make up its $60 million budget, and the critical reception hasn't helped. CinemaBlend's own Sean O'Connell gave the film a 2/5 star rating, noting that it's a definite step down from its predecessor. As of this article, the film is currently ranked Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 38% approval rating, which is far lower than the critical response to the original.

That being said, it seems unlikely that the lukewarm early performance of Never Go Back will discourage die hard fans of the franchise. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back once again sees Tom Cruise step into the boots of the titular, tough as nails, former military detective who seeks justice by any means necessary. When Jack Reacher and his colleague Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) are framed for crimes that they didn't commit, the two go on the run in order to prove their innocence. As you have probably already assumed, they get into plenty of fights and chases along the way.

CinemaBlend will bring you more information concerning the financial performance of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back as more details become available to us. The Tom Cruise-fronted action thriller debuts in theaters today. Stay tuned for more!

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