Box Office Report: Cameron Crowe's 'We Bought a Zoo' Sluggish at No. 6; 'M:I4' Still No. 1

We Bought a Zoo - Film Still - H 2011
20th Century Fox

We Bought a Zoo - Film Still - H 2011

Fox's "Zoo," starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, grossed an estimated $3 million on its first day, while "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" pleases with a $9.5 million-$10 million Friday.

Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo debuted in the $3 million range at the Friday box office in a soft start for the all-audience Christmas film.

The movie, from 20th Century Fox and starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, came in No. 6 but could make up ground later on Christmas day and next week as more families become available. Zoo received a promising A CinemaScore. 

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Paramount's Tom Cruise starrer Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol continued to top the domestic box office on Friday, grossing $9.5 million to $10 million for a domestic cume north of $41 million. The movie opened last Friday in limited Imax sneaks before expanding nationwide Tuesday night.

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 Ghost Protocol, which is expected to post a first-place domestic gross of $40 million to $45 million for the Wednesday-Sunday stretch.

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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.

Staying at No. 2 on Friday was Warner Bros.' Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which was on course to gross $6.5 million to $7 million for an eight-day domestic cume hovering around $65 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.

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The news wasn't all bad for Fox. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked continued to pick up steam, grossing roughly $5.3 million Friday to come in No. 3 as more and more kids got out of school. As with Game of Shadows, Chipwrecked opened well below expectations last weekend.

Sony's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo came in No. 4 in its third day of full play, grossing an estimated $4.5 million to $5 million million for a cume north of $13 million. Directed by David Fincher, the English-language adaptation of the blockbuster Swedish novel stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer.

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Steven Spielberg's 3D family film The Adventures of Tintin, which is off to a soft start, grossed an estimated $3.5 million to $4 million Friday for a three-day cume north of $11 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.