‘Mission: Impossible’ cruises to top of box office

LOS ANGELES, Dec 26 — “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” cruised to No. 1 at box offices yesterday, even as major new movies opened on Christmas Day that may change top 10 results when final numbers are tallied.

Tom Cruise arrives for the premiere of his film “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” in New York, December 19, 2011. — Reuters file picTom Cruise arrives for the premiere of his film “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” in New York, December 19, 2011. — Reuters file picThe new Tom Cruise movie rang up an estimated US$26.5 million (RM83.6 million) in US and Canadian ticket sales over the three-day weekend, according to studio estimates, after expanding from a limited release in Imax and other large-screen cinemas last week.

Paramount Pictures, which released the movie, said it expected a four-day tally of slightly more than US$40 million by today, when final estimates are reported. The film’s cumulative ticket sales are expected to reach just over US$72 after today.

Indeed, the weekend box office race truly will finish today because Christmas day annually is among the most crowded days in cinemas and yesterday, director Steven Spielberg’s widely anticipated “War Horse” makes its debut along with another newcomer, thriller “The Darkest Hour”.

Hollywood’s major studios loaded the release schedule last week heading into the holiday, expecting the films to play well between now and New Year’s Eve while parents and kids are away from work and school. As a result, a clear picture of how the movie studios fared this Christmas season awaits the full week of box office reports.

Meanwhile, over the weekend Warner Bros’ “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” took the No. 2 spot on US and Canadian (domestic) box office charts with US$17.8 million, according to yesterday’s estimates. Cumulative ticket sales for “Sherlock” after two weeks now stand at roughly US$76.5 million.

Another holdover from last week, family comedy “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” squeaked into No. 3 with US$13.3 million, pushing its total domestic ticket sales to US$50.3 million after two weeks in cinemas.

Following it were a trio of last week’s newcomers, widely anticipated “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, family film “The Adventures of Tintin” and comedy “We Bought A Zoo”.

“Dragon Tattoo” landed at No. 4 yesterday with US$13 million, a hair behind the chipmunks, and a Sony spokesman cautioned the studio’s figure could change when yesterday’s figures were final.

“Today and tomorrow should be our strongest days of the holiday frame,” the spokesman said, noting that the studio did not have a Monday estimate.

“Dragon Tattoo” now has estimated total domestic ticket sales of US$21.4 million since its debut.

“Tintin”, another Spielberg film released by Paramount, landed at No. 5 over the weekend with US$9.1 million. The studio sees it rising to US$14.3 million after today. Total ticket sales by today are seen at US$22.3 million since its debut.

Finally, another new entry this weekend, the comedy “We Bought a Zoo”, landed at No. 6 with US$7.8 million.

Paramount Pictures is a unit of Viacom Inc. Warner Bros is part of Time Warner Inc. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was released by the movie studio division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Sony Corp. “Chipwrecked” and “Zoo” were both released by film divisions of 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp. — Reuters


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