Box Office Report: 'Mission: Impossible 4' Christmas Victor, Tom Cruise is Back

"Mission: Impossible III" (2006)
Paramount/Courtesy of Everett Collection

His third outing as agent Ethan Hunt disappoints, stalling at $398 worldwide.

Cameron Crowe's Matt Damon-Scarlett Johansson starrer "We Bought a Zoo" opens to a soft No. 6; David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" off to solid start.

Paramount's Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol is on course to become Tom Cruise's top grossing film at the domestic box office in years, potentially improving his star status.

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Directed by Brad Bird, Ghost Protocol is easily winning the crowded holiday race, grossing $26.5 million over the three-day Christmas weekend for a cume of $59 million. The well-reviewed pic opened on Dec. 16 in limited IMAX sneaks before expanding nationwide last Tuesday evening.

Paramount estimates that Ghost Protocol, co-financed by Skydance Productions, will earn another $13.7 million on Monday--a national holiday--for a domestic total of $72.7 million, not far behind the $76.4 million earned by Knight and Day in its entire earned $76.4 domestic run, or the $83.1 million grossed by Valkyrie in 2008.

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Cruise has remained a top star overseas, even as his status was eroded in the U.S. after several controversial comments and his couch-jumping incident on Oprah (his production company also got booted off the Paramount lot by Sumner Redstone, but he and the studio eventually patched things up).

Ghost Protocol has already jumped the $100 million at the international box office, although figures for Christmas weekend won't be announced until Monday (many theaters in Europe and Latin America closed for Christmas eve and Christmas day). Paramount is now predicting that the film will cross the $200 million mark internationally by Dec. 31.

The other big headline of Christmas weekend was the tepid debut of Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo, which opened Friday. Starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, the film's cume through Sunday was only $7.8 million, putting it at No. 6. Fox is hopeful that the all-audience movie will pick up the pace on Monday and through next week, when moviegoing should spike.

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We Bought a Zoo, the latest in a string of disappointing studio openings, received an A CinemaScore, a promising sign.

With 2012 fast approaching, Hollywood is now resigned to the fact that it probably won't be able to close the gap in domestic box office revenues, even as international grosses surge. One veteran studio executive believes domestic revenues will come in at $10.1 billion, a 3 percent dip from 2010.

The year-end holidays have brought some relief--heading into the final two weeks of 2011, the gap was more than 4 percent. And the four-day Christmas weekend should end up 3 percent over last year.

Paramount is virtually assured of ending 2011 No. 1 in marketshare, both domestically and internationally. Overseas, the studio's films will have collected north of $3 billion in ticket sales. It's the first time any studio has jumped the $3 billion mark.

Holding at No. 2 over the weekend was Warner Bros.' Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, grossing $17.8 million for a 10-day domestic cume of $76.6 million. The sequel -- reteaming filmmaker Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law -- continues to lag behind the original pic but has gained momentum.

Game of Shadows grossed $22.3 million from 25 markets at the foreign box office over the weekend, bringing its international total to $46.1 million and worldwide cume to $122.7 million.

Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked continued to pick up steam as well, grossing $13.3 million over the weekend for a 10-day domestic total of $50.3 million. As with Game of Shadows, Chipwrecked opened well below expectations last weekend. Overseas, the 3D family film earned $20.1 million from 52 markets over the weekend for an international total of $42.1 million and worldwide total of $92.4 million.

Sony's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo came in No. 4, grossing $13 million over Christmas weekend for a five-day domestic cume of $21.4 million. Directed by David Fincher, the English-language adaptation of the blockbuster Swedish novel stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer.

Dragon Tattoo opened in five Scandavian countries over the weekend, collecting $1.6 million.

Steven Spielberg's 3D family film The Adventures of Tintin grossed $9 million over Christmas weekend for a five-day domestic cume of $17.1 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 $240 million.