Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and War Horse both had promising Christmas weekend performances.

‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ Leads Christmas Weekend

on December 27, 2011 by Daniel Garris

Please note that because of the holidays, many reported grosses are currently revised studio estimates.  In general, Monday's grosses were over-estimated yesterday, as Christmas Day made up a larger percentage of four-day grosses than it did back in 2005, the last time Christmas fell on a Sunday.

Paramount's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol led Christmas weekend with a four-day first place finish of $44.12 million. The Brad Bird directed action sequel starring Tom Cruise is performing on the higher end of its lofty expectations at a time where many other wide releases are performing both below expectations and previous standards for high profile December releases. For the three-day frame, Ghost Protocol grossed $29.50 million. IMAX locations and other premium screens were responsible for 23 percent of the film's grosses this weekend.

On the positive side of things, Ghost Protocol and the rest of the marketplace in general built up major momentum on Christmas Day and on Monday, as the week between the Christmas and New Year's holidays is traditionally very strong at the box office. Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol has now grossed $76.55 million through eleven days of release (the first 4 & 1/2 of which were in limited release) and should have no problem remaining at the top of the box office over New Year's weekend.

Internationally, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol grossed $43.0 million this weekend. That places the film's international total at $140.0 million and worldwide total at $216.6 million.

Another bright spot this weekend proved to be War Horse. The Steven Spielberg directed DreamWorks film being distributed by Disney grossed $14.53 million from just two days of wide release in 2,324 locations. That placed the film within shouting distance of the four-day weekend grosses for both The Adventures of Tintin and We Bought a Zoo. War Horse grossed $7.52 million on Christmas Day and $7.01 million on Monday. Online signals had been fairly week for the film before its release, but War Horse was ultimately able to exceed expectations this weekend, as the film was likely able to drawn in a large number of older and less frequent moviegoers who traditionally turn out during the holiday season. Thanks to skewing older, awards season buzz and its two-day launch, War Horse has an excellent chance of holding up very well throughout the month on January.

After a softer than expected start last weekend, Warner's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was able to hold its own this weekend with a four-day second place take of $31.01 million. The anticipated sequel starring Robert Downey Jr. fell 22 percent from last weekend's three-day debut and has now grossed $89.76 million in eleven days. For the three-day frame, A Game of Shadows grossed an estimated $20.26 million thanks to a strong Christmas Day performance. The film is currently running 37 percent behind the pace of 2009's Sherlock Holmes, but should start to shrink the percentage gap some between the two in the coming days.

Sony's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opened in fourth place with a four-day take of $19.50 million. The six-day total for the David Fincher directed remake stands at $27.88 million. Over the three-day frame, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo grossed $12.75 million. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had been widely expected to be stronger out of the gate this week, but the film's opening week performance was still respectable, especially if it can hold up well going forward. It also remains a real possibility that moviegoers who weren't in the mood for a film with darker themes at Christmas will now be more in the mood for the film with the holiday behind us.

Opening in fifth place was Paramount's The Adventures of Tintin with $15.11 million over the four-day frame. The motion capture computer animated film from Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson clearly hasn't been able to match its international strength in its first few days of domestic release. The better than expected start of Spielberg's War Horse certainty didn't help matters for Tintin this weekend. For the three-day frame, The Adventures of Tintin grossed $9.71 million. Tintin has grossed $23.11 million to date (a total which has been strengthened by 12 additional days of exclusive domestic release in Quebec. Like this weekend's other releases, The Adventures of Tintin will hope to hold up extremely well going forward.

Fox's We Bought a Zoo didn't quite live up to its break-out potential and prime Christmas positioning this weekend. The Cameron Crowe directed film starring Matt Damon opened with a so-so $14.60 million to claim sixth place over the four-day weekend. Like Tintin, We Bought a Zoo also seems to have been limited a bit by the better than expected start of War Horse. However, We Bought a Zoo did pick up in a big way on Christmas Day, which is a good sign for the film's holding power going forward. The film grossed $9.36 million over the three-day frame.

Fellow family film and Fox release Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked placed in third over the four-day frame with $19.53 million. That was down 16 percent from last weekend's three-day start. Th three-day gross for the family sequel was $12.59 million. The eleven-day total for the film stands at $56.47 million, placing it 36 percent behind the pace of 2007's Alvin and the Chipmunks. Given the film's largely family audience, look for Chipwrecked to hold up especially well between now and the New Year's holiday.

Coming as no surprise, The Darkest Hour didn't make much of a box office impact this weekend domestically with a two-day start of $5.07 million. The 3D sci-fi horror film grossed $3.00 million on Christmas Day and $2.07 million on Monday. The Darkest Hour did perform relatively stronger in Russia, where it grossed $3.4 million. Summit is distributing the film domestically, while Fox is handling the film internationally.

Follow @DanielBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional box office updates.

Tags: The Darkest Hour, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, We Bought a Zoo, The Adventures of Tintin, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, War Horse, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

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