The Devil Inside crushed even the most generous forecasts this weekend and easily claimed first place ahead of fellow Paramount release Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Its impressive debut combined with strong holdover performances resulted in an estimated $126.2 million Top 12 gross, which is up a whopping 28 percent from the same weekend last year (though it's off 15 percent from the same frame in 2010).
The only noteworthy drawback of The Devil Inside's opening was that it was incredibly front-loaded (it made 50 percent of its tally on Friday), though that's on par with the last two Paranormal Activity movies. Paramount is reporting that the audience was 59 percent under the age of 25 and 54 percent male, and its CinemaScore leaned more "F" (19 percent) than "A" (16 percent).
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol dropped down to second place after leading the box office for the past few weeks. The movie eased just 33 percent to $19.9 million, and it has now made an impressive $169.6 million. By early next weekend, the fourth installment in the popular franchise will have passed the original movie's $181 million total, and it's beginning to look like it has a chance at topping Mission: Impossible II's $215.4 million to become the highest-grossing entry in the series.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows also held well this weekend: the sequel was off 35 percent to $13.7 million, and has so far made $157.05 million. It has closed the gap with the first Sherlock Holmes to $23 million, though it's appearing less likely that the movie will ultimately close over $200 million.
Dipping just 23 percent to $11.4 million, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had the best hold among all nationwide releases this weekend. The movie has now earned $76.9 million, and a Sony spokesperson indicated that they believe the movie is on pace to ultimately wind up with over $100 million.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked fell 42 percent to $9.5 million, which was good for fifth place this weekend. The movie passed $100 million on Wednesday, and has so far grossed $111.6 million.
War Horse and We Bought a Zoo had nearly identical results this weekend. War Horse added $8.7 million for a $56.9 million total, while We Bought a Zoo was just behind with $8.3 million and $56.4 million gross-to-date.
The Adventures of Tintin fell 41 percent to $6.7 million this weekend. The Steven Spielberg-directed animated adventure has now made $62 million. That's okay given the movie's impressive overseas haul, though it does show pretty conclusively that domestic audiences never really bought in to the movie in the way one would expect given that it was directed by Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy expanded to 809 locations this weekend and earned a solid $5.5 million. It had the second-best per-theater average among wide releases ($6,772) behind The Devil Inside, and should add substantially to its $10.1 million total through the remainder of the awards season.