1. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - $31.6M - $134.5M
2. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows- $22M - $132.1M
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked - $18.2M - $94.5M
4. War Horse - $16.9M - $42.9M
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - $16.3M - $57.1M
6. We Bought a Zoo - $14.3M - $41.7M
7. The Adventures of Tintin - $12.2M - $48M
8. New Year's Eve - $6.7M - $46.3M
9. The Darkest Hour - $4.3M - $13.2M
10. The Descendants - $3.6M - $39.6M
Another shorter report this weekend due to the time taken to write the huge box office review of 2011 (link below if you've not had chance to skim/read it yet). The time between Christmas and New Years can be a bumper one for the right films. This year is no different, especially for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which has had a number of very strong days - in fact, according to Box Office Prophets, the film has had at least five days bigger than the day it expanded into wide release. This weekend it managed to add another $31M, which pushed it passed what M:I3 made in its entire theatrical run. With a few more good weekends, it could well become the biggest film of the series (currently that stands with part 2's $215M finish). Furthermore, Ghost Protocol is set to cross the $200M mark on the international market this weekend. Tom Cruise, it would seem, is back, thanks in part to sterling work from director Brad Bird.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows might not have gotten off to quite the start that Warner Bros. were hoping for but it's more than made up for it since. The sequel hit $100M on day 13 of its release and while it's trailing what the original film had made at this point, it's still recovered admirably. International figures have the film over $50M so far, but expect that to double, even triple, once it opens into more locations. Another couple of solid weekends should see it recoup its $140M production budget.
Another film to benefit from the holiday is Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. It got off to a much poorer start than Sherlock but has been the family film of the Christmas period. It's now recouped its $75M production budget and there's little reason to think it won't cross $100M within the next fortnight. In comparison to the other film in the series, it's under-performing but given how many had all but written of this third film, Fox must be nothing but pleased with its holiday performance.
The other Steven Spielberg film in the top ten, War Horse, is looking in better shape despite having not made as much money as Tintin. The well reviewed film, based on the stage play (which itself was based on a book) opened on Christmas day to $7.5M and barely missed a step the day after, adding another $7M. In this, its first full weekend on general release, War Horse managed an impressive haul of $16.9M. With a budget of $70M attached to the project, it still has some work to do, but word of mouth should help keep the public interested in the film.
Being an R-rated film can be a tough sell at Christmas - and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo looked like it would struggle after a somewhat subdued $12.7M 'Christmas' weekend. But like most of the top ten, it benefited from people taking the week off, giving them plenty of time for a cinema visit. Similar to MI:GP, Dragon Tattoo has some great word of mouth attached and that helped it add another $16.3M this frame, giving the $90M production a running total of $57M. Abroad the film has barely gotten started, meaning we'll have a better picture of its performance there in a few weeks time.
Cameron Crowe's We Bought A Zoo is yet another film that looked like it was in trouble after its opening frame ($9.3M) but managed to recover in the interim. The film, based on a true story, sees a widowed Matt Damon up sticks and purchase a house complete with a zoo in the backyard. After some reluctance he decides to keep the animals and return the zoo to its former glory. The film marks Crowe's return to feature film directing after the flop of Elizabethtown back in 2005 (whose final tally, Zoo has already surpassed). This week it added a further $14M to its total. With only one major release on January 6th, We Bought a Zoo should be heading north of $50M by this time next week.
With The Chipmunks being the family choice for the holidays, Tintin has struggled to make headway. While the character is well known overseas, where the film has made over $240M, it's a relatively unknown creation in North America. Even with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson involved, Tintin hasn't been able to break out a great deal, adding $12M this frame, to give it a running total of $48M. Despite its outstanding work overseas, this poor show on the domestic front throws hopes for a sequel into question.
Inexplicably, the critically reviled New Year's Eve has managed to stay in the top ten and may even have a shot at making back its $56M production budget. After one of the lowest openings for a no.1 film in recent memory, the film was all but dismissed as a flop. Yet, thanks to the holiday period, the ensemble comedy-drama has continued to see daily figures of over $1M. A potential $60M finish is on the cards.
The only film to seemingly not benefit from the increased free time over the last week is the sci-fi action flick, The Darkest Hour. Set in Russia, it sees a world attacked and all but destroyed by energy seeking aliens. The film, produced by Timur Bekmambetov, made only $3M on Christmas Day (the day on which it opened) and struggled throughout the week, making it up to $1.7M on Friday. Despite its low budget ($30M), The Darkest Hour is unlikely to make a profit without help from the overseas market.
Although it dropped out of the top ten in the middle of December, white hot word of mouth has managed to push the George Clooney drama, The Descendants, back into the chart (helped too, by the awards buzz associated with the picture). Made for just $8M, The Descendants has a running total of $39M
Out to only four locations, The Iron Lady, the Meryl Streep Margaret Thatcher biopic made an impressive $221K.
Happy New Year!