Christmas Box-Office Proves Decent

A bunch of films hit at Christmas this year and for once the reviews were generally pretty strong for many of them. Some performed admirably, others not so much. Yet considering the general lack of attendance at cinemas over the past few months it looks like for once the 4-day holiday weekend will be slightly up on last year despite a slow Christmas Eve.

Faring the best in the top spot was “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” which looks set to take $46.2 million for the four day holiday – holding strong in its wide opening on Wednesday after a five day IMAX exclusive bow. The movie has already racked up a total of $78.6 million domestically and $140 million overseas.

The sequel “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” took in $31.8 million at #2 for a total of $90 million so far. A worldwide launch is being held back until January so it will be a while before international numbers are in, and while a disappointment compared to its originator – it’s looking like it won’t be the bomb some feared.

In third place “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” added $20 million to its $57 million domestic total so far. Disappointing compared with the previous entries but, again like ‘Holmes’, not a dud either.

A big surprise was Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse”. Opening Sunday, a few days later that most of the other releases, it still managed to pull in $15 million over just two days – putting it in third place on those two days and 7th place overall.

Most everything else however disappointed. David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” adaptation, Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin”, and Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” opened a tad soft in 4th with $19.1m, 5th with $16.1m and 6th with $15.6m respectively.

The strongly reviewed ‘Girl’ now sits at $27.8 million domestic – not that shabby for a 160 minute R-rated adult thriller. It’s a costly film though so it’ll need to do well overseas to fill in the hole, which will be tricky considering the relatively recent Swedish film adaptation was such a big international hit. Also a bevy of strong art house films including “The Artist,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Shame,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” “Carnage,” and “A Dangerous Method” siphoned off much of the adult audience.

The well-reviewed ‘Tintin’ has already racked up $239 million overseas to add to its $24 million domestic haul so far so its fortunes States-side don’t matter a great deal. Very few films based on American comics (aside from some key titles like Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men) do any real business outside North America, so it’s not a huge shock that a Belgian comic has the opposite reaction even though the crowds who did see it gave it a high score.

In eighth was the Russian alien invasion thriller “The Darkest Hour” which fizzled with just $5.5 million, while “New Year’s Eve” slunk down to ninth with $5.0 million. Rounding out the Top Ten was the George Clooney-led “The Descendants” which is going well with a $33.7 million haul so far despite being on only a quarter of the screens of much of the rest of the Top Ten.