IMAX’s said today that the opening of Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol during the weekend set a record for a December bow in the format, seemingly a big thumbs-up for a strategy that saw the Tom Cruise-starring tentpole premiere exclusively on IMAX ahead of its wide release tomorrow (including on 112 more IMAX screens). Of course, both IMAX and M:I-4 received plenty of help from a six-minute prologue of Warner Bros’ hugely anticipated The Dark Knight Rises that played ahead of the movie on 40 of IMAX’s 300 70mm screens — we’ll find out this weekend how the latest in the Paramount spy franchise fares on its own. IMAX said it grossed about $14 million overall for M:I-4 on 389 screens worldwide, topping the previous mark set last year by Tron: Legacy, and touted a 30%-plus increase in box office from Friday to Saturday as proof that the early-release strategy is a buzz-builder. Director Brad Bird shot about 30 minutes of action footage using IMAX cameras.

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