Box Office Analysis: Many Christmas Casualties

1. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: $26.5M — The only real bright spot, the only unqualified hit of the season. Cruise’s 4th outing with impossible missions should exceed the take of the last one. You can’t ask for more than that.

2. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: $17.8M — There’s been some spin claiming Robert Downey Jr’s. sequel rebounded a bit this weekend, but that’s grading on a curve. After ten days in release, the first film was sitting at $138m. Compare that to part two, which has brought in about half that ($76m).

3. Alvin and the Chipminks: Chipwrecked: $13.3M — After ten days “Alvin 2” was cleaning up with $133m, compared to “Chipwrecked,” which sits at $50m.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: $13.3M — Two observations: First off, who in their right mind would want to see such a downer during the holidays? Second, it appears as though fans of the book were perfectly satisfied with the perfectly satisfying 2009 version.

5. Adventures of Tintin: $9.1M — The number that matters with this one is the $250m already made overseas. American audiences aren’t familiar with Tintin. However, you would think a better job would’ve been done to market to the U.S. But after decades of only marketing known brands, I’m not sure the studios have the brainpower to introduce new concepts and characters. Those are muscles no one’s bothered to flex in a long time. For that reason alone, a lot of money was left on the table. We’re talking Steven Spielberg for crying out loud.

6. We Bought a Zoo: $7.8M — Matt Damon is not a star AND he works overtime to alienate 60% of his potential customers.

7. New Year’s Eve: $3M — Guess we won’t be seeing “Arbor Day.”

8. Arthur Christmas: $2.7M — $44 million total take over 5 weeks for the only true holiday offering of the season. Problem is, it looked like a pretty rote story and was sold on answering question “The Santa Clause” answered to everyone’s satisfaction 15 years ago.

9. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: $2.1M — $270m in North America alone.

10. Hugo: $2M — $44M over five weeks and more proof that the studios have no idea how to market something that isn’t already a known brand. Unbelievable.

11. The Muppets: $2M — Worldwide take thus far, $82m. Maybe the liberal media will tell us again how controversy sells.

12. The Descendants: $1.7M — Both “Tintin” and “We Bought a Zoo” had better per screens ($2109). So there’s no doubt this is a disappointment for Fox Searchlight, who expanded to 800-plus theatres hoping word of mouth and critical acclaim would make the George Clooney family drama the breakout adult hit of the year. $32M after 4 weekends on 500-plus screens is not a good sign.

Both “War Horse” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” were released yesterday. Nikki Finke is reporting “War Horse” is doing better than expected, but she’s also reporting that adults are “flocking to” “The Descendants” and “The Artist.” With per screens of $2109 and $5132 respectively, that’s what you call spin.

Because of the holidays, every day this week is a Saturday, so anything could still happen.

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