Weekend Box Office – GHOST PROTOCOL Wins New Year’s Frame; WAR HORSE Finds Its Footing

     January 1, 2012


For the second week in a row, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is the domestic box office champ… Happy New Year, Paramount!  With a weekend estimate of $31.2 million, M:I 4 has already crossed $300 million in worldwide grosses and has now surpassed the final domestic total of Mission: Impossible 3 after 17 days in theatres.  But Ghost Protocol is not the only film with something to celebrate.  Unlike the Christmas holiday the final weekend of 2011 had enough good news to go around.

Title Weekend Total
1 Mission: Impossible 4 $31,250,000 $134.1
2 Sherlock Holmes 2 $22,095,000 $132
3 Alvin & the Chipmunks 3 $18,250,000 $94.6
4 War Horse $16,940,000 $42.9
5 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo $16,300,000 $57.1
6 We Bought a Zoo $14,300,000 $41.7
7 The Adventures of Tintin $12,000,000 $47.8
8 New Year’s Eve $6,710,000 $46.3
9 The Darkest Hour $4,300,000 $13.2
10 The Descendants $3,650,000 $39.6

mission-impossible-ghost-protocol-posterYou’ve probably heard that 2011’s total domestic box office came in about 3% below 2010. Recalling the negative cast to many of my own recent box office reports, I’m relieved that that percentage wasn’t higher.  In fact, if you factor out last January’s Avatar-anomaly, this year’s box office looks pretty robust at over $10 billion in sales for the third year running.  Yes, ticket prices were higher and attendance was down, but why linger on the negative?  I’m sure there will be plenty of chances to slam the studios in the months to come so, today, let’s ride New Year’s glad tidings through 2011’s last weekend of box office news.

Starting at the top, Mission: Impossible 4 was up an estimated 2% over last weekend.  By comparison, 2010’s New Year’s weekend winner, Little Fockers was down by over 16% on its sophomore frame, so that’s a big positive right there.  Of course, I mentioned last week that the calendar had a lot to do with making this Christmas’s grosses look bad (and with making this weekend’s grosses look better by comparison), but facts like those don’t matter much when you’re accentuating the positive!

In second and third this New Year’s weekend, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked also saw big increases.  After two weeks of so-so returns, the CGI Alvin saw a big 45% jump this weekend, making it the undisputed winner in the family-film holiday derby. Warner Brothers’ Sherlock sequel was up 9% over the Christmas frame and is expected to reach a domestic total of $140 million by Monday.  That still won’t be enough to get the film close to the $209 million domestic total of the first Sherlock Holmes, but there is still plenty of room for international money to even things out considering that the film has yet to debut in several key overseas markets.

the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-image-rooney-maraSony’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is another release that has yet to see much international action; though, it remains to be seen how successful David Fincher’s film will be overseas less than two years after the Swedish version commanded over $100 million in worldwide receipts.  Here in the US, after a less-than authoritative pre-Christmas debut, Dragon Tattoo saw a 28% spike on New Year’s weekend, and is expected to pass $60 million by the close of the four-day holiday.

On Friday I told you that Steven Spielberg’s War Horse had lost some momentum after charging out of the gate on Christmas Day.  The period drama rebounded well on New Year’s Eve, however, charging back up to fourth place on the weekend chart with an estimated $16.9 million.  Technically that is a giant 125% increase but, considering that War Horse only played on one of Christmas’s three days, it’s an increase we were expecting.

adventures-of-tintin-movie-imageAs for Spielberg’s second holiday release, The Adventures of Tintin, it is difficult to stay strictly positive.  Yes, Tintin saw its grosses go up by 24% on its second weekend, but it is still struggling to pass the $50 million mark domestically and was passed up by family audiences in favor of Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 – that’s got to hurt.  Once again, it will be international figures to the rescue as worldwide Tintin grosses near the $300 million mark.

In our Friday report, we mentioned that We Bought a Zoo saw a huge 60% increase over its December 23rd debut.  That good news carried over to the weekend chart where the dramedy was up 53% for a three-day estimate of $14.3 million.  And, naturally, we could not end 2011’s New Year’s weekend report without mentioning New Year’s Eve.  The holiday ensemble commanded one of the weekend’s most impressive gains, jumping an estimated 103% on its fourth frame in theatres. Unfortunately, the film’s overall domestic total of $46.3 million is still less than what Valentine’s Day made on its opening weekend, but at least it didn’t completely blow the one weekend it was designed to celebrate!

Well, that about does it for 2011.  If you didn’t get a chance to see some of the recent releases, don’t worry – they’re going to be around for awhile.  Only one film, Paramount’s The Devil Inside, is set for January 2012’s first official weekend so, unless something unexpected happens, it looks like the New Year promises another good week for Mission: Impossible 4 and War Horse.



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