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Paramount’s Tom Cruise-starrer Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol continued to tower over the competition as moviegoers rang in 2012, grossing $38.3 million for the four-day New Year’s weekend for a domestic total of $141.2 million.
Overseas, the tentpole has grossed $225.3 million for a world total of $366.5 million. Ghost Protocol, directed by Brad Bird and co-financed by David Ellison’s Skydance Productions, could ultimately earn close to $600 million globally, a franchise best.
In welcome news for the film business, most Christmas movies turned in solid performances and saw strong multiples, while both Christmas weekend and New Year’s weekend were up over last year by 11 percent and 15 percent, respectively. And domestic box office revenues for the week of Dec. 23-Dec. 39 reached $351 million–the second best of 2011 after the week beginning July 15, when the final Harry Potter opened ($375 million).
However, the holiday uptick wasn’t enough to close the gap in domestic box office revenues. Ticket sales came in at an estimated $10.21 billion in 2011, down 3.4 percent from 2010, or roughly $370 million. More grim was the drop in attendance, which tumbled to a 16-year low in 2011. An estimated 1.28 billion people went to the movies, down 4.21 percent from the 1.33 billion who went in 2010.
Ghost Protocol has dominated the global box throughout the year-end holidays, followed by Warner Bros.’ Robert Downey Jr.–Jude Law sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and 20th Century Fox’s threequel Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.
Returning Guy Ritchie to the director’s chair, Game of Shadows grossed $26.5 million over the four-day weekend for a domestic cume of $136.5 million. Warner Bros. believes the movie will earn $175 million domestically, still short of the $209 million earned by the original Sherlock, although still a great number.
Overseas, Game of Shadows earned $35 million over the weekend for an international cume of $106 million and world total of $242.5 million.
Chipwrecked grossed $21 million over the four-day weekend for a domestic cume of $97.4 million. As with Game of Shadows, Chipwrecked has made up ground after a muted opening over the Dec. 16-18 weekend. Overseas, the threequel grossed $24.4 million over New Year’s weekend for a foreign cume of $81.1 million and worldwide total of $178.5 million.
Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse made news over New Year’s weekend when moving up the domestic box office chart to No. 4, narrowly beating Sony’s R-rated adult drama The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. War Horse, from DreamWorks and distributed by Disney, grossed an estimated $19.2 million for the four-day weekend, compared to $19 million for Dragon Tattoo.
War Horse, opening Christmas Day, has grossed $45.2 million domestically.
David Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo, based on the blockbuster Swedish novel and starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer, finished the holidays with a domestic gross of $60 million on its way to a $100 million-plus domestic cume. The film is doing promising business overseas, where it has rolled out in Scandanavia and the U.K.
Dragon Tattoo grossed $8.4 million over the weekend for a foreign cume of $12.2 million, with $6.7 million coming from the U.K. The movie’s global total is $72.2 million. The Swedish film adaptation of the book was a runaway hit internationally, grossing north of $90 million (it topped out at $10 million in the U.S.).
Fox’s second holiday film We Bought a Zoo, directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, came in No. 6 over New Year’s weekend, posting a four-day domestic gross of $16.5 million for a cume of $44 million. The film, which got off to a relatively soft start over Christmas weekend, has boosted its standing over the last week, posting some of the best holds of any film.
Zoo has only rolled out in 13 foreign markets for a cume to date of $7.8 million, pushing the movie’s total to $51.8 million.
The Adventures of Tintin–Spielberg’s second Christmas movie–came in No. 7 over the holiday weekend, grossing $15 million for a domestic cume of $50.8 million. The film is a runaway success overseas, where it has earned nearly $260.5 million, bringing its total gross to $311.3 million.
Zoo cost just under $50 million to produce, while Tintin cost well north of $100 million. War Horse’s production budget was north of $70 million.
New Line and Warner Bros.’ troubled New Year’s Eve enjoyed a boost over the weekend thanks to its namesake holiday, grossing $7.7 million for a domestic cume of $47.4 million and coming in No. 8.
Summit’s sci-fi Chrismtas entry The Darkest Hour lagged at No. 9, grossing $5.3 million for a meek domestic cume of $14.2 million. Overseas, where Fox is distributing the movie, Darkeset Hour has earned $8.3 million from 16 markets for a global total of $22.5 million.
The awards box office saw plenty of action, including the stellar opening of Meryl Streep-starrer The Iron Lady. The Brtiish film, distributed by the Weinstein Co. in the U.S., grossed $280,409 as it opened in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York for a sizzling screen average of $70,102. Phyllida Lloyd directed the film, about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Sony Pictures Classics’ Iranian film A Separation also debuted to glowing numbers, grossing $79,481 from three theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $26,494. The film is Iran’s official selection for the Oscar for best foreign language film.
And Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants moved back up the box office chart to No. 10 in its seventh weekend, grossing $4.3 million from 758 theaters for a domestic cume of $40.3 million.
Focus’ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which has quietly blossomed into an arthouse hit, continued to post strong numbers, grossing $1.4 million over the four-day weekend from 57 locations for a domestic cume of $4.3 million and screen average of $25,065.
The Weinstein Co.’s awards darling The Artist also posted impressive numbers, grossing $1.7 million from 167 theaters for a cume of $5.4 million and weekend screen average of $9,967.
Warner Bros.’ awards entry Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close grossed $149,000 from six theaters for a cume of $313,000 and screen average of $24,833.
Pariah, from Focus Features, grossed $65,093 over the weekend for a location average of $16,273 and six-day cume of $101,500.
Angelina Jolie’s Bosnian war film In the Land of Blood and Honey collected $12,539 from two theaters for a cume of $52,202 and location average of $6,270.
For full weekend results, see below:
Domestic Box Office Dec. 30-Jan 2 (Four Day)
Title/Weeks in Release/Studio/Theater Count/Four-Day Weekend Total/Cume
1. Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol (3), Paramount/3,455, $38.3 million, $141.2 million
2. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (3), Warner Bros./3,703, $26.5 million, $136.5 million
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (3), 20th Century Fox/3,724, $21 million, $97.4 million
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2), Sony/2,914, $19 million, $60 million
5. War Horse (2), DreamWorks/Disney/2,547, $19.2 million, $45.2 million
6. We Bought a Zoo (2), Fox/3,163, $16.5 million, $44 million
7. The Adventures of Tintin (2), Paramount, Sony/3,087, $15 million, $50.8 million
8. New Year’s Eve (4), Warner Bros./New Line/2,225, $7.7 million, $47.4 million
9. The Darkest Hour (2), Summit/2,327, $5.3 million, $14.2 million
10. The Descendants (7), Fox Searchlight/758, $4.3 million, $40.3 million
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