Your Mission, To Win the Christmas Box Office…


The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

Christmas weekend offered a bit of hope for the box office as five new movies opened in wide release and another one expanded after a solid opening weekend, although for the most part, returning movies did much better business than some of the new releases.

Opening in IMAX theaters last weekend and grossing enough to take third place, Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Paramount), starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg, expanded into 3,023 theaters nationwide on Wednesday with $8.9 million and held up that business through the weekend to end up with estimated $46.2 million over the four-day weekend and $78.6 million total after 11 days in theaters. That was lower than the three-day opening of the franchise predecessor Mission: Impossible III in May 2006, but it’s already grossed more money in the same number of days pointing to a higher gross than the $133.4 million made domestically by the third installment.

About $7.4 million of that amount was brought in by the roughly 400 IMAX theaters playing the movie over the four-day weekend, bringing its cumulative IMAX gross in North America to $23 million, which is roughly 31% of the film’s total domestic gross. Globally, the movie has grossed $32 million in IMAX venues in the past 11 days, although some IMAX theaters only opened the movie in the last couple days. spoke with IMAX President of Filmed Entertainment Greg Foster earlier in the day and were told the company is very enthusiastic about Paramount’s decision to roll the movie out in IMAX theaters early, making it the format in which many people want to see the movie. (Having the prologue for Christopher Nolan’s anticipated The Dark Knight Rises in front of it probably didn’t hurt.) They’re seeing very consistent business for the film’s IMAX release and they see it playing well into January. They plan on keeping the 70mm IMAX theaters playing even after Screen Gems’ Underworld Awakening opens in digital IMAX theaters.

Second place for the weekend went to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Warner Bros.), which brought in an estimated $31.8 million over the four-day weekend to bring its total to $90.5 million in 11 days.

Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks – Chipwrecked took 3rd place with approximately $20 million over the four-day holiday weekend, having grossed $56.9 million since opening last week.

David Fincher’s adaptation of the bestselling novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony), starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer, also opened on Wednesday with $5.1 million, dropped to $3.3 million on Thursday and the studio is estimating $19.4 million for the movie over the extended weekend with roughly $13 million of that from Friday through Sunday. It has grossed $27.8 million in its first six days.

Director Steven Spielberg had two new movies opening this week and though his wartime drama War Horse (DreamWorks) only opened on Christmas Day Sunday, it ended up coming very close to the business for his animated The Adventures of Tintin (Paramount) in twice as many days and 700 more theaters.

The latter opened on Wednesday in roughly 3,000 theaters, taking fifth place with $2.3 million and picked up a bit of business over the four-day weekend to add another $16.1 million to its six day total of $24.1 million. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the amount made internationally, which amounts to $240 million so far.

War Horse, based on the novel and hit play of the same name, opened on Christmas Day with $7.5 million, an amount it’s thought to double on Monday to bring its two-day total to $15 million to take seventh place for the extended weekend. (Personally, we think it will do better on Monday than the other two movies and when the dust clears, we could see War Horse taking fifth place for the weekend with just two days of business.)

Cameron Crowe’s family film We Bought a Zoo (20th Century Fox), starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church and Elle Fanning, opened on Friday in 3,117 theatesr and after a slow start with only $3 million on Friday, it picked up business to end up with an estimated $15.6 million over the four-day weekend, claiming sixth place.

Also opening on Christmas Day in 2,324 theaters, the alien invasion thriller The Darkest Hour made $3 million in its opening day and an estimated $2.5 million on the Monday after Christmas.

Warner Bros.’ New Year’s Eve added another $5 million over the four-day weekend as it gets closer to the actual date in the title with its total at $34.3 million after three weeks.

As far as the limited releases, Angelina Jolie’s Bosnian war film In the Land of Blood and Honey (FilmDistrict) opened in three theaters on Friday to gross $27.8 thousand, roughly $9,300 per venue. Stephen Daldry’s drama Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros.), starring newcomer Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Max von Sydow, brought in $136,000 in twice as many theaters after opening on Christmas Day.

(We’ll add international grosses and an estimate for Wim Wenders’ new performance doc Pina (IFC Films) once they’re available.)

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.