Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol led the way over New Year's Weekend, while The Iron Lady was off to a strong platform start.

‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ #1 Over New Year’s Weekend

on January 02, 2012 by Daniel Garris

Revised 3-Day Studio Estimates:

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol -- $29,580,000
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows -- $21,010,000
Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked -- $16,350,000
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo -- $14,800,000
War Horse -- $14,395,000
We Bought a Zoo -- $13,200,000
The Adventures of Tintin -- $11,415,000
New Year's Eve -- $6,385,000
The Darkest Hour -- $4,200,000
The Descendants -- $3,400,000
The Muppets -- $2,700,000
Hugo -- $2,450,000

On the heels of strong New Year's Eve grosses on Saturday, Sunday's New Year's Day grosses were over-estimated in general. Last night's highly watched NFL game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys certainly didn't help matters.

Leading the way once again this weekend was Paramount's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. The well-received action sequel starring Tom Cruise grossed an estimated $38.33 million, which was down 13 percent from last weekend's four-day frame. The marketplace in general held up well compared to Christmas weekend, though both Ghost Protocol and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows experienced weaker percentage holds compared to others as moviegoers spread out their choices more so this weekend than last weekend. With that said, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol has already grossed an excellent $141.21 million in 18 days and should remain a factor at the box office throughout the month of January thanks in part to both strong word of mouth and continued IMAX grosses.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows held steady in second place with an estimated four-day take of $26.51 million. The Warner Bros. sequel starring Robert Downey Jr. was down 15 percent from last weekend's four-day frame. After a much slower than expected start, A Game of Shadows has in turn held up nicely over the past two weeks. The film's 18-day total stands at $136.51 million, which now places the film 18 percent behind the pace of 2009's Sherlock Holmes. A Game of Shadows should continue to shrink the percentage gap between the two films going forward.

Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked was up 7.5 percent over last weekend's four-day frame to take third place with an estimated $21.00 million. New Year's weekend is traditionally a strong frame for family films and that was certainly the case once again this year. Much like A Game of Shadows, Chipwrecked has held up well on the heels of its softer than expected opening weekend performance in mid-December. Chipwrecked has grossed $97.36 million in 18 days, placing it 34 percent behind the pace of 2007's Alvin and the Chipmunks.

War Horse finished in fourth with an estimated four-day gross of $19.22 million. This weekend served as the film's first full weekend of release after opening on Sunday last weekend. The Disney released Steven Spielberg directed DreamWorks film was up 32 percent compared to last weekend's two-day start. War Horse continues to exceed expectations with a nine-day gross of $45.25 million, placing it 27 percent behind the pace of 2010's True Grit.

Sony's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was down just 2 percent from last weekend's four-day frame to round out this weekend's top five with an estimated $19.00 million. The David Fincher directed remake didn't light the box office on fire last weekend, but is holding up nicely thus far (even when factoring in the positive effect of the holidays on holding power). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has grossed $59.81 million in 13 days, placing it 7 percent behind the pace of 2005's Fun with Dick and Jane (which also opened the Wednesday before Christmas).

While there were no new wide releases this weekend, there were some notable platform releases over the frame. The most impressive of the group was The Weinstein Company's The Iron Lady, which grossed an estimated $280,409 from 4 locations, giving it a strong per-location average of $70,102. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Classics' A Separation grossed an estimated $79,481 from 3 locations, while Focus' Pariah grossed an estimated $65,093 from 4 locations. Respective per-location averages were $26,494 for A Separation and $16,273 for Pariah.

In other platform news Tinker, Tailor, Solider Spy remained strong with an estimated $1.43 million from 57 locations. That gave the awards season hopeful from Focus a four-day per-location average of $25,065. Tinker, Tailor, Solider Spy has grossed $4.299 million to date.

Check back tomorrow for four-day weekend studio actuals.

Follow @DanielBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional box office updates.

Tags: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Pariah, A Separation, The Iron Lady, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

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