Blue Christmas: Only Bright Spot at Box Office Is Tom Cruise

By this time next week, six new tentpoles will have opened wide: “Tintin,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “We Bought a Zoo,” “The Darkest Hour,” “War Horse,” and “Mission Impossible 4.”

It seems as though, despite good weather and plenty of titles to choose from, people just don’t feel like going to the movies. That means there will be some casualties next week — more than one, I suspect.

But then again, people did come out in droves for “MI:4.” Why that one and not the others?

1. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: $40M — The original opened with $62M and went on to gross $209M domestically. No one found it a classic, but the energetic direction combined with the chemistry between stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law certainly made for a good time. What kept people away from a highly anticipated sequel? When I think of the marketing campaign, all I remember is Holmes running in slo-mo through a forest while being shot at. Maybe the focus should’ve been on the arrival of Holmes’ arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty.

2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked: $23.5M — Fox was lucky to get two blockbusters out of what never seemed to be a very appealing franchise.

3. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: $13M — The “Dark Knight Rises” prologue was screened on only around 10% of the 425 screens that hauled in a remarkable $30k per. So don’t let Tom Cruise haters spin this into something’s it’s not. Cruise is still a star, and better still, the star of a franchise that has yet to disappoint. We’ll learn a lot more next weekend when the fourquel goes into wide release, but the only excitement I’m hearing around any upcoming new release stops here.

4. New Year’s Eve: $7.4M — We’re two weekends in and the total take is only $25M. When all is said and done, this sequel probably won’t reach a total domestic gross equal to the $56M opening weekend of its predecessor.

5. The Sitter $4.4M — Two weeks and a $17M take is a flop.

6. Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1: $4.3M — $266M in five weeks of release.

7. Young Adult: $3.6M — A paltry per screen of $3.7k on 986 screens means this re-teaming of director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody is unlikely to recapture that “Juno” box office magic.

8. Hugo: $3.6M — $39M in four weeks equals toast and delivers further proof (not that we needed it) that the power of the film critic to boost box office fortunes no longer exists.

9. Arthur Christmas: $3.6M — I had expected this to chug along to respectable box office, but after four weeks and $38.5M, that’s just not going to happen.

10. The Muppets: $3.4M — Four weeks in release, great reviews, great brand, a ton of publicity and only $71M at the box office.

Hey, lefties, tell us again how controversy sells!

11. The Descendants: $3.3M — With the avalanche of new releases coming next week and a per screen of an only okay $3.8k on 880 screens, the hope that George Clooney’s family drama would be a breakout hit is fading fast.


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