'M:I4' to tower over others
The final box office weekend of 2011 should be led by Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," with a not impossible domestic gross near US$35 million for the four-day New Year's weekend.
The Paramount film led the Christmas weekend after its limited debut in IMAX gave it a big marketing boost, and this week's midweek numbers indicate audience interest is holding, with a total North American gross of about $130 million expected by Monday night.
Warner Bros.' "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, will enter its third weekend after crossing the $100 million mark on Wednesday, and clues point to another $25 million for the long holiday weekend.
Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" should have a chipper third weekend in the low $20 million range as families enjoy the last of the holidays together before it's back to school. By Monday night, the little rodents should have munched a total of about $90 million.
Sony's thriller "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," the second film adaptation of the hugely popular mystery novel by Stieg Larsson, hacked $20 million from audiences over the extended Christmas holiday and enters New Year's weekend with a potential gross in the mid- to high-teens.
Disney's "War Horse" opened Christmas Day with $7.5 million and will now stretch its legs over a full holiday weekend with a likely gross in the $15 million range. The Steven Spielberg film is based on the 1982 children's novel and the 2007 stage adaptation, and has received two Golden Globe nominations, including for best picture.