After two very slow weeks at the nation’s theaters things are finally heating up, albeit to a lesser degree than we’d hoped, with the arrival of three new and very high profile releases. First up is Warner Bros.’ “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows” which is the follow up to the hugely successful 2009 “Sherlock Holmes” that opened with $62.3 million and went on to earn over half a billion dollars worldwide. The re-teaming of Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law in the roles of Holmes and Watson will drew audiences to theaters with $40 million this weekend.
In second place will be Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” the third installment of the massively popular family films that have consistently performed well at the box office with the first film in 2007 debuting with $44.3 million and “The Squeakquel” in 2009 taking in an impressive $48.9 million. The first two films have scavenged up nearly $800 million in global dollars and this one opened with $23.5 million.
IMAX will make a splash with preview showings of Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol” in 300 large format venues. In the 300 IMAX locations the film earned $11 million ($37K per theater). This is a new record for an X-mas/December IMAX release and proves that this new early release window worked and is a game changer. In addition there were 125 engagements in selected traditional theaters. With many IMAX locations showing the prologue to Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises,” a frenzy of excitement propelled the fourth installment of the Tom Cruise action favorite to an impressive $12 million in just 425 total locations in advance of its wide release debut on Wednesday, December 21.
In fourth place with $7.4 million is Warner Bros. romantic ensemble comedy “New Year’s Eve” starring Ashton Kutcher, Halle Berry and a host of other big name stars. The film will enter its second weekend after topping the mid-week chart with around $17 million and will finish out the weekend with over $24.8 million in the champagne budget.
Fifth place honors will go to the second weekend of the R-rated Jonah Hill comedy “The Sitter” which earned $4.4 million and has earned a total allowance to date of $17.7 million.
Top Movies for Weekend of December 16, 2011 (Estimates)
Movie Weekend Gross Total to Date
1 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (PG-13) $40.02M $40.02M
2 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G) $23.5M $23.5M
3 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (NR) $13.0M $13.6M
4 New Year’s Eve (PG13) $7.4M $24.8M
5 The Sitter (R) $4.4M $17.7M