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Box Office Report: 'Mission: Impossible 4' Stays No. 1 With $6.4 Mil Thursday

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol Tom Cruise Wreck - H 2011
Paramount Pictures

Fox's "Alvin" threequel moves up to No. 3, Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin" is soft at No. 5; "We Bought a Zoo" and "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" among the new Christmas films opening Friday.

Paramount's Tom Cruise starrer Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol easily continued to top the domestic box office on Thursday, grossing an estimated $6.4 million for a cume of $32.4 million and worldwide total of $128.4 million.

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The Brad Bird-directed film, which introduces Jeremy Renner to the espionage franchise, has earned a hearty $96 million internationally since beginning its rollout last weekend. Skydance Productions co-financed the action tentpole, which is expected to post a first-place gross of $40 million to $45 million for the Wednesday-Sunday stretch.

After three weekends of woe at the box office, traffic has picked up this week as Christmas approaches. But the real test will be the week between Christmas and New Year's, when moviegoing spikes. With Christmas day falling on a Sunday this year, Saturday will be a wash at the multiplex because of Christmas Eve. Christmas itself can be a strong day after presents are opened.

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Staying at No. 2 on Thursday was Warner Bros.' Sherlock Holmes--A Game of Shadows, grossing $4.8 million for a seven-day domestic cume of $58.8 million. The sequel--reteaming filmmaker Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law--continues to lag behind the original pic, but hopes to narrow the gap by the New Year.

Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked moved up the chart to No. 3 on Thursday as more and more kids got out of school, grossing $4 million for a seven-day domestic cume of $36.9 million. As with Game of Shadows, Chipwrecked opened well below expectations last weekend.

But Chipwrecked had no trouble besting Steven Spielberg's 3D family film The Adventures of Tintin, which is off to a soft start, opening Wednesday to $2.3 million and grossing $2.5 million on Thursday for a two-day cume of $8 million.

Paramount and Sony, who partnered on Tintin, knew the movie would be a challenge in the U.S., where the cartoon character--created by Belgian artist Herge--isn't as well known. Tintin is already an international hit, having grossed north of $250 million.

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Tintin came in No. 5 on Thursday at the domestic box office, while Sony's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo came in No. 4 in its second day of full play, grossing $3.3 million for a cume of $8.4 million. Directed by David Fincher, the English-language adaptation of the blockbuster Swedish novel stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer.

Some studios--primarily Warners--have complained about the way Paramount and Sony reported Wednesday numbers for M:I4 and Tattoo, saying it was wrong for the two studios to lump in Tuesday evening shows with Wednesday's earnings. Paramount and Sony did break out the numbers for the media, although they were reported as one figure by Rentrak, the official clearing house for box office grosses.

The dispute revolves around the fact that Rentrak showed Game of Shadows coming in No. 3 on Wednesday, behind Tattoo, when in fact Game of Shadows came in No. 2, while Tattoo came in No. 3, as reported by THR.

The domestic box office grows even more crowded on Friday as Fox opens Cameron Crowe's all-audience holiday film, starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, followed on Sunday by Spielberg's second Christmas film War Horse, from DreamWorks and Disney, and Summit's sci-fi action thriller The Darkest Hour.

The specialty box office also heats up as several high-profile award contenders debut. On Friday, FilmDistrict opens Angelina Jolie's directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles, followed on Sunday by Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which Warners opens in six theaters.

Making major expansions on Friday are The Artist and My Week with Marilyn, both from the Weinstein Co.