B.O. Brawl: Warner Bros Demands Recount From Paramount & Sony

TUESDAY AM: 8TH UPDATE: Full weekend wrapup coming… Refresh for latest…

Christmas Day box office numbers for North America are up +60% compared to New Years Eve for the new holiday releases and as much as +86% for the weekend frontrunner Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and +104% for Warner Bros’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows in second place. As for the No. 1 movie, director Brad Bird’s Tom Cruise-Jeremy Renner starrer is definitely going to outgross the M:I franchise’s last actioner which did $135M domestic and $270M overseas. My sources say M:I4 is heading to $175M domestic and $400M overseas — with a budget estimated at $145M. Also, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-buzzed War Horse for DreamWorks/Disney opened in 2,376 theaters today and is overperforming with nearly $7.5M jumping into 3rd place. And that’s despite its 2-hour, 26-minute running time which means fewer screenings. Also opening today is New Regency/Summit Entertainment’s sci-fi thriller The Darkest Hour which debuted today in 2,324 theaters with $2.5M. Fox’s Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked falls to 6th place, while the studio’s We Bought A Zoo moves up a notch to 5th, and Paramount’s The Adventures Of Tintin drops to 7th. More later.

As predicted, Christmas Eve grosses were very soft. (And many international theaters particularly in Europe close early on Christmas Eve and on Christmas.) Paramount’s Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol is still having the holiday season’s strongest start for #1. Either Tom Cruise’s career is back from the brink or else moviegoers are in the mood for a full-frills actionfest with heartstopping stunts — or both. The fourquel is showing that this franchise has freshened successfully. Warner Bros’ Sherlock Holmes: Game Of Shadows is holding in 2nd place, but it was supposed to win the weekend. Guy Ritchie’s thriller just wasn’t thrilling enough for audiences. And its disappointing start shows how fickle fans can be when it comes to movie stars like Robert Downey Jr. Another big surprise is the underperformance of Twentieth Century Fox’s family fare threequel Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked which may show more life over the next week. Sony Pictures’ The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the only major studio wide release that’s R-rated this holiday period. So its lackluster grosses are such a surprise (especially because adults are flocking to specialty box office hits like Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants and The Weinstein Co’s The Artist). Maybe fans of the Steig Larsson novel were satisfied by last year’s Swedish film and weren’t feeling David Fincher’s Hollywood version. But business could pick up next week. Paramount/Sony’s The Adventure Of Tintin is already a hit overseas. But these domestic grosses underwhelm for a Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson collaboration. Then again, Americans don’t have a clue who the Belgian boy hero is.  Twentieth Century Fox suffered yet another disappointing debut when its holiday heartwarmer We Bought A Zoo opened really weak despite stars Matt Damon-Scarlett Johansson and director Cameron Crowe and heavy TV advertising and two rounds of national sneaks to build word of mouth. You’d think all those animals would have put more people in seats, like the studio’s previous hit Marley & Me, especially with an ‘A’ CinemaScore. Speaking of animals, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-buzzed War Horse from DreamWorks/Disney opens Sunday in 2,376 theaters and is projected to make $4.5M on Sunday and $8M Monday. Its 2-hour, 26-minute running time means fewer screenings. Question is whether this is family or adult fare.

But just when the Grinch stole Hollywood’s moviegoers comes the stat that overall box office this 3-day weekend is -22% compared to last year. But the 4-day wholiday looks to be up 3% vs last year which also included Christmas Eve. Monday is a U.S. national holiday so look for better box office. That’s when we’ll see clarity on whether the entire holiday period will bring out moviegoers for what is now the very important New Year’s weekend which may lead to much better multiples and totals than usual. Latest Top 10 (order determined by weekend gross):

1. Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Paramount) Week 2 [3,448 Runs]
Debuted Friday December 16 in limited release; Expanded Tuesday night December 20; Officially went wide Wednesday December 21
Tuesday $1.7M, Wednesday $8.9M (including $2M midnights), Thursday $6.2M, Friday $9.7M, Saturday $6.1M
3-Day Weekend $26.5M, 4-day Holiday $40.2M
Domestic Cume $72.6M, International Cume $130M (from 50 markets)

2. Sherlock Holmes: Game Of Shadows (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,703 Runs]
Opened wide Friday December 16
Wednesday $4.2M, Thursday $4.8M, Friday $6.7M, Saturday $5M
3-Day Weekend $17.8M (-55%), 4-Day Holiday $25M
Domestic Cume $83.8M, International Cume $46.1M (from 25 markets)

3. Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (Fox) Week 2 [3,726 Runs]
Opened wide Friday December 16
Wednesday $3.5M, Thursday $3.9M, Friday $5.4M, Saturday $2.8M
3-Day Weekend $13.3M (-43%), 4-Day Holiday $21.1M
Domestic Cume $58.1M, International Cume $42.1M (from 52 markets)

4. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sony) NEW [2,914 Runs]
Debuted Tuesday night December 20; Opened Wednesday December 21
Tuesday $1.6M, Wednesday $5M, Thursday $3.1M, Friday $4.6M, Saturday $2.5M
3-Day Weekend $13M, 4-Day Holiday $20M
Domestic Cume $28.5M, International Cume $950K

5. The Adventures Of Tintin 3D (Paramount) NEW [3,087 Runs]
Opened Wednesday December 21
Wednesday $2.3M, Thursday $2.4M, Friday $3.5M, Saturday $2.4M
3-Day Weekend $9.1M, 4-Day Holiday $14.3M
Domestic Cume $22.3M, International Cume (Sony) $240M

6. We Bought A Zoo (Fox) NEW [3,117 Runs]
Friday $3M, Saturday $1.9M
3-Day Weekend $7.8M, 4-Day Holiday $11.7M
International Cume $1.1M (from 6 markets)


7. New Year’s Eve (Warner Bros) Week 3 [2,585 Runs]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $505K
3-Day Weekend $3M, 4-Day Holiday $5.4M, Cume $34.8M

8. Arthur Christmas (Sony) Week 5 [1,804 Runs]
Friday $1M, Saturday $745K
3-Day Weekend $2.7M, 4-Day Holiday $4M
Domestic Cume $45.5M, International Cume $90M (from 74 markets)

9. Hugo 3D (Paramount) Week 5 [1,236 Runs]
Friday $712K, Saturday $583K
3-Day Weekend $2M, 4-Day Holiday $3M
Domestic Cume $44.6M

10. The Muppets (Disney) Week 5 [1,859 Runs]
Friday $930K, Saturday $607K
3-Day Weekend $2M, 4-Day Holiday $3.6M
Domestic Cume $77.2M

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.

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