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January 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The box office rang in the new just about the way it rang in the old — sounding more like Big Ben than like Tinkerbell, its model for most of the past five months. With the Tom Cruise starrer Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol remaining in the lead with $31.3 million, the box office for the top 12 films came to about $148 million, virtually flat with the comparable weekend a year ago, when the second week of Little Fockers led with $25.8 million (challenged closely by True Grit with $24.4 million). Placing second was Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which wound up with around $22.1 million, followed by Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked with $18.3 million. In its first full weekend, the Steven Spielberg drama War Horse earned an estimated $16.9 million, edging out The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which claimed $16.3 million. Still, with the exception of the first two weekends of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn in November, this was the most rewarding weekend at the box office since the first week of August. The question remains, however, will Hollywood see the box office behave the same way it did a year ago. After the New Year’s Day holiday last year, the box office did not gross more than $145 million until the first weekend of May.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, $31.3 million; 2. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, $22.1 million; 3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, $18.3 million; 4. War Horse, $16.9 million; 5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, $16.3 million; 6. We Bought a Zoo, $14.3 million; 7. The Adventures of Tintin, $12 million; 8. New Year’s Eve, $6.7 million; 9. The Darkest Hour, $4.3 million; 10. The Descendants, $3.7 million.