It’s almost Christmas and box office is still down from last year’s already disappointing December. We’d have to go all the way to 2008 to find a worse weekend just before Christmas. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows opened to around 2/3 of the original while Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked was less than half of The Squeakquel. The only good news comes from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘s record breaking limited release.
Sequels have been hit or miss this year and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is no different. After opening with an underwhelming $39.6 million (original opened with $62.3 million a week after Avatar), Sherlock will need very strong box office legs to match the $209 million grossed by the first one in North America. Right now $180 million seems to be the ceiling but that could change next weekend depending on how well this Robert Downey Jr. film can hold its own against the upcoming flood of new releases. The original Sherlock Holmes survived Avatar so A Game of Shadows has a certain reputation to live up to.
In 2nd place Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked scored $23.2 million, a new series low after Alvin and the Chipmunks opened with $44.3 million while the second one grabbed $48.8 million. Among TV cartoons brought to the big screen, Chipwrecked‘s opening compares to Garfield: The Movie ($21.7 million) and is a lot lower than this year’s The Smurfs. Speaking of those blue devils, a few months ago I mentioned they threw the glove at Alvin and his gang and as far as I can tell after just one weekend, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked will definitely lose to The Smurfs.
Now here’s a movie that didn’t disappoint, on the contrary, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol grossed $12.7 million over the weekend in just 425 theaters, setting a new limited release (under 600 theaters) opening record, previously held by Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason with $8.6 million in 530 theater. Truth be told, most of those were IMAX theaters with their super inflated ticket prices and around 40 of them showed the 6-minute prologue of The Dark Knight Rises. But besides all of this Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol had another very important aspect going for, it’s a damn great movie and for me personally the best in the series. On Wednesday the film expands to over 3400 theaters so I’m expecting some impressive numbers over the coming days.
Rounding up the top 5 were New Year’s Eve with $7.3 million for $24.7 million in 10 days and The Sitter with 4.6 million and $17.9 million so far.