Box Office Report: 'Mission: Impossible,' 'Sherlock Holmes' Gross More Than $1 Million at Early Screenings

10:59 AM PST 12/16/2011 by Gregg Kilday
Joe Lederer/Paramount Pictures
"Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"

Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr.'s newest followups drew promising numbers on Thursday.

Modern-day spies and period sleuths fought it out at the box office Thursday night as Paramount/Skydance's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Warners’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows both opened to promising early numbers.

Tom Cruise’s latest assignment as M:I’s Ethan Hunt opened to an impressive $1.1 million on just 425 Imax screens. That figure was comparable to the $1.1 million that Mission: Impossible III took in when it opened at midnight on 2,000 screens in 2006, suggesting that the franchise continues to be a big draw for the fan boys who showed up for the early screenings.

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To accommodate them, some Imax theaters opened up 7 p.m. and 9 p.m screenings rather than wait for midnight, so the movie did benefit from multiple showings in some locations. The movie will expand to about 3,400 theaters nationwide on Dec. 21.

Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr.’s new turn as Sherlock Holmes took in $1.25 million at midnight screenings in 1,650 theaters.

On Friday, the movie will be playing on 3,703 theaters nationwide. The first Holmes movie opened on Christmas Day, 2009, so there is no precedent for the early, midnight demand that its sequel attracted.

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