Well, there’s some good news and some bad news. Good news first: Friday’s box office was up more than 75 percent compared to last Friday. The bad news is that everyone was expecting a much better showing than that. After all, last weekend was the slowest box-office frame on record since September 2008. Unfortunately for Hollywood, its autumn funk continued as both Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked fell quite short of industry predictions.
Warner Bros.’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows finished first on Friday with an estimated $14.7 million. By comparison, the 2009 original grossed $24.6 million its first day. Granted, that movie opened on Christmas Day, resulting in holiday-inflated figures. Still, most box-office prognosticators thought the $125 million sequel would at least cross $50 million this weekend. Instead, A Game of Shadows is headed for a less impressive $41 million.
There is a silver lining, though. The PG-13 sleuthing adventure garnered an “A-” rating from CinemaScore audiences, which may indicate positive word of mouth. Also, since A Game of Shadows debuted a week before Christmas, it could make up some ground next holiday weekend. But it’ll have to contend with The Adventures of Tintin, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and the wide expansion of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, among other releases. Surely Sherlock would have liked to have started out with a bit more cash.
Fox’s $80 million threequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, squeaked its way to $6.8 million on Friday. That’s far below the opening days of the franchise’s first two movies, which earned $13.3 million and $18.8 million, respectively. It also continued this year’s trend of family films struggling to duplicate the big openings of their predecessors. The G-rated Chipwrecked, which received a “B+” grade from CinemaScore moviegoers, is on pace for a $23 million weekend.
Friday’s one bright spot was Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, which collected $4.1 million from just 425 IMAX and large-format theaters. That translates to a meaty $9,700 per-screen average, though some credit should be given to The Dark Knight Rises prologue that played in front of the film at 42 IMAX locations. The fourth entry in the Tom Cruise action series should finish the weekend with around $12 million, and the PG-13 movie’s strong early performance bodes well for its wide expansion into 3,400 theaters on Wednesday.
Further down the chart in seventh place was Young Adult, which expanded from eight to 986 theaters this weekend. The R-rated comedy clearly wasn’t ready for such a wide release, as it grossed only $1.1 million on Friday. That puts the well-reviewed movie, starring Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt, on pace for just a $3 million weekend. Check back here on Sunday for the complete box-office report.
1. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows — $14.7 mil
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — $6.8 mil
3. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol — $4.1 mil
4. New Year’s Eve — $2.5 mil
5. The Sitter — $1.4 mil
Box office preview: Sherlock Holmes to rejuvenate the slumping movie season