'Tis the season to see sequels. But this season the sequels aren't being seen by very many. Hollywood's Christmas 2011 continues to disappoint at the box office.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows took first place this weekend, but there wasn't much to celebrate. With only $40 million it dropped well below the $62 million its predecessor banked two Christmases ago. While the movie is in no danger of losing money over the long haul, such a large drop in interest could flag an end to the fledgling franchise.
Alvin and company fared even worse. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wrecked took in just $23 million, dropping to near half the $44 million and $48 million debuts enjoyed by the first two in the series. That might also spell a direct-to-DVD future for any further sequels with the singing CG rodents, but if more big screen releases get the green light it wouldn't be the first time a franchise declining in both cash flow and quality lived well past its prime (here's looking at you Scary Movie).
The one sequel to show some signs of success was Mission:Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Instead of a massive holiday release Paramount launched the fourth M:I flick in less than 500 IMAX theaters, giving more committed fans a chance to shell out for the higher ticket prices and give word-of-mouth the chance to boost interest before the movie gets lost in next week's flood of Christmas-time new releases.
Young Adult jumped from 18th place to 7th on the back of a widened release, but that wasn't enough to declare it a financial success. With only $4 million in sales so far it's a long ways from recovering its simple $12 million price tag.
For the full weekend top ten numbers, take a look at the chart below: