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December 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Against the backdrop of another dismal weekend at the box office, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol put in a top-notch performance as it opened in just 425 locations (mostly IMAX) with $13.6 million. The idea presumably was to deliver to audiences the sensations of acrophobia as they watched Tom Cruise on the giant screen scale Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world — with the hope that they would tell their friends about the experience, who would then pass up ordinary theaters when the movie opens wide on Wednesday and go see it in IMAX theaters, where tickets carry a $3.50-$5.00 surcharge. As it was, the per-theater average for Ghost Protocol came to $32,000, a figure that Daily Variety described as “fantastic.” (But if you think that’s fantastic, consider what it earned in 27 theaters in the United Arab Emirates, where key scenes in the movie were filmed: $2.4 million, or an average of $89,000 per theater.) Everything else at the domestic box office, however, including two films opening wide, fizzled. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows came in well below analysts’ expectations with $40 million, while Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, scored only $23.2 million. Both sequels also came in well below the original films. In limited release, Sony Classics’ Carnage, starring Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet, opened in five theaters with $85,696 — a solid per-theater average of $17,139. In its second week, Focus Features’ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy expanded into 16 theaters from four to gross $452,278, for a per-theater average of $28,267.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, $40 million; 2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, $23.5 million; 3. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, $13 million; 4. New Year’s Eve, $7.4 million; 5. The Sitter, $4.4 million; 6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1, $4.3 million; 7. Young Adult, $3.7 million; 8. Hugo, $3.63 million; 9. Arthur Christmas, $3.6 million; 10. The Muppets, $3.5 million.

Final Figures for the Top Five Films:

1. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, $39,637,079
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, $23,244,744
3. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, $12,785,204
4. New Year’s Eve, $7,310,413
5. The Sitter, $4,608,681