After a slow start for movies opening early on Wednesday, the Christmas holiday rallied a bit on Sunday and Monday. Overall, box office results were slightly higher than the same four day holiday weekend last year, but that's small consolation for an industry that saw a major ticket sale backslide in 2011.
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol carried through on its successful limited IMAX release last weekend to take number one this week in wide release. Four day holiday sales handed the movie an additional $46 million bringing its domestic total to $78 million. A solid turn out on Sunday and Monday brought a sigh of relief for what was shaping up to be a mediocre weekend for the franchise early on.
But from there, the holiday stories get sadder than a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
There were five new movies in theaters over the holiday but not a single one managed to cross into the top three.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows slipped to second place with $31 million, bringing its total sales to $90 million. That's a fraction of the $138 million the first Sherlock Holmes movie had earned by the end of its second weekend. Meanwhile Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked took third with $20 million.
The top newcomer was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, banking $19 million. Fincher's take on the thriller bankrolled for a hefty $90 million, making it a hard sell to turn a profit in the new year.
The picture was even grimmer for The Adventures of Tintin. Despite the presence of major helmers Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg, the motion capture CG adventure just wasn't a winner with American audiences. Being more a European phenomenon, the movie has already earned $240 million internationally, easing any disappointment over its weak US opening.
Animal-centric entries We Bought A Zoo and War Horse took sixth and seventh places respectively with around $15 million each. Both numbers were less than expected for the two movies, but given the intense competition this weekend it shouldn't have been a surprise that these two choices under performed.
At a very weak and distant eighth place with just $5 million, The Darkest Hour slipped into box office oblivion. Despite a modest $30 million budget, the chances of the movie hitting profitability are dark indeed.
For the full four-day Christmas weekend totals, take a look at the festive chart below: