Box Office Predictions: 'Mission' Gets Accepted, Matt Damon Struggles Again.

Last week, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and the third “Chipmunks” film opened much lower than expected. Their combined result all but destroyed Sensei’s prediction calls. Not all was lost. Sensei’s streak in calling the correct top opener did extend to five straight weeks. This week, a host of newcomers hope for the top box office spot.

This weekend’s predictions and revenue results go as follows.

1. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – ($28 million, Fri-Sun) ($42 million, Wed-Sun)Last weekend confirmed analyst fears about the current box office outlook. Things are very weak right now. This film’s healthy opening on only 425 theaters (300 IMAX) was the only bright spot. With solid reviews and high audience ratings, the film will power ahead to beat the new “Sherlock Holmes” film.

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2. Sherlock Holmes: Game Of Shadows – ($19 million, Fri-Sun) ($28 million, Wed-Sun) – After its low opening, this one will struggle to equal the gross of the first “Sherlock Holmes” ($209 million domestic). The film also loses a large portion of its target audience to “MI4’s” theater expansion this week. Still, it will pull in respectable numbers over the holiday. Whether it will be enough for a second sequel is another story.

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3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – ($17 million, Fri-Sun) ($25 million, Wed-Sun) – David Fincher’s latest does have the book audience, but overall interest in R-rated serial killer-inspired mysteries is very lackluster. “Girl” will have to pull numbers exclusively from older audiences which translates to mid-range openings already seen in films like “J. Edgar” and “Moneyball.”

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4. Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked – ($14 million, Fri-Sun) ($21 million, Wed-Sun) – This family film opened much lower than “Chipmunks 2’s” opening last weekend. It will get a slight boost from holiday family audiences, but don’t expect great results. The film is trailing its predecessor’s gross by an almost 2 to 1 margin. That doesn’t bode well.

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5. The Adventures Of Tintin – ($12 million, Fri-Sun) ($20 million, Wed-Sun) – The film has a unique advantage in that it will bring in some older audiences (off its Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson tie-in) as well as family ones. That will give it enough steam to beat Matt Damon’s “We Bought A Zoo.”

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Bonus Picks:

#. We Bought A Zoo – ($9.4 million, Fri-Sun) – The film’s premise is clever but Matt Damon’s not the biggest box office draw right now. Adding to the film’s problems will be competition from “Tintin” and a “Chipmunks” film hoping to salvage itself financially.

#. War Horse – ($4.8 million, Christmas Day)Healthy start for Steven Spielberg’s second project opening this week (“Tintin” the first). This one has more of a “Seabiscuit” feel than a “Secretariat” or “Hidalgo” in terms of horse driven fare. When combined with its early Oscar buzz, the film is positioned to do very well.

#. The Darkest Hour – ($2.2 million, Christmas Day) – Film is opening in the vein of counter-programming to grab audiences, but a sci-fi invasion film on Christmas? This one has disappointing numbers written all over it.

Phew. Biggest weekend column yet. From Sensei White Lotus and Master Iron Fist, it remains a pleasure to be with all of you week after week. All our best and fond wishes of a joyous holiday.

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