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Weekend Report: 'M:I-4' Sizzles Over Solid Christmas Weekend

by Ray Subers
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
 

 
December 26, 2011

After typically slow earnings on Christmas Eve the box office came roaring back to life on Christmas Day, and the studios are expecting this surge to continue throughout Monday. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol easily topped the charts for the four-day weekend, while Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked had decent holds following their middling debuts. The only clear winner among the new releases was War Horse, which managed to nearly crack the Top 5 despite opening on Sunday. Based on studio estimates, the four-day weekend will end up at over $201 million, or up around 10 percent from the same four-day period last year.

Mission: Impossible
scored an estimated $46.2 million from Friday to Monday for a total of $78.6 million. While it's still lagging behind all three prior Mission: Impossible movies, it's obviously worth noting that those movies were released during May, when grosses are much more front-loaded, and didn't open with a five-day limited engagement. It now appears like Ghost Protocol will easily finish ahead of Mission: Impossible III's $134 million, and could even wind up topping the first Mission: Impossible's $181 million. According to distributor Paramount Pictures, the movie received an "A-" CinemaScore from an audience that was 61 percent male and 65 percent 25 years of age and older. IMAX and "premium" screens accounted for 23 percent of the gross.

Sherlock Holmes
added $31.8 million to bring its 11-day total to $90.6 million. Chipwrecked added $20 million for a total just under $57 million. While neither of these sequels have any chance of passing $200 million (like their predecessors did), they also appear to be officially out of "bomb" territory.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo grossed an estimated $19.4 million from Friday to Monday for a six-day total of $27.8 million. That's tops among the new releases, but is also a bit disappointing considering the movie is an adaptation of one of the most popular books of the last decade and featured a killer marketing campaign from distributor Sony Pictures ("The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas," Trent Reznor and Karen O's version of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," etc.).

The Adventures of Tintin
rounded out the Top Five with an estimated $16.1 million four-day haul. Including Wednesday and Thursday, as well as prior grosses from Quebec, Tintin has earned $24.1 million so far. With a title character largely unfamiliar to U.S. audiences and featuring the kind of motion capture animation that's been steadily losing appeal here, it probably would have been unreasonable to expect much more to start. Tintin's audience was 55 percent male and 51 percent 25 years of age and under, and they awarded the movie an "A-" CinemaScore. A huge 74 percent of the grosses came from 3D presentations.

We Bought a Zoo
was just behind Tintin with an estimated $15.6 million. That's just a bit higher than Marley & Me's opening day gross of $14.4 million on Christmas Day 2008, which indicates that Zoo isn't off to a great start.

War Horse
was the most impressive out of the new releases with an estimated $15 million from Sunday to Monday. Holding off on opening until Christmas Day, the Steven Spielberg-directed World War I drama claimed third place both days behind Ghost Protocol and Sherlock Holmes. It's way too early to say for sure, but there's a very good chance this winds up being the highest-grossing Christmas release this year.

As expected, The Darkest Hour launched with a soft $5.5 million from 2,324 locations. The audience was 56 percent male and 75 percent under the age of 35, and they awarded the movie a poor "C+" CinemaScore.



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