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Box office preview: 'Mission: Impossible' won't lose its grip over New Year's weekend

With no new wide releases this New Year’s weekend, the box office is going to look very much like it did over the Christmas weekend. In fact, a number of movies may perform a little bit better this weekend due to the fact that Christmas Eve, a typically slow day at the box office, landed on a Saturday last week. Furthermore, since 893 movies were released the last couple of weeks, audiences should be eager to catch up with the many films they haven’t seen yet.

Here are my predictions for the three-day weekend (Friday to Sunday): READ FULL STORY

'MI:4' director on filming in IMAX and how Christopher Nolan is 'throwing down the showmanship' with 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Brad Bird wanted to be a filmmaker since the moment he learned to draw. “I didn’t realize this until later,” says the 54-year old director of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, “but the very first drawings I did when I was a kid at age 3 were sequential. They weren’t great drawings – they were just stick figures – but they were meant to be viewed in a certain order. So from the very beginning, I was trying to make films.”

The pictures have only gotten got more sophisticated — and larger — since then. Bird made a name for himself in animation with The Iron Giant, then won Oscars with two Pixar blockbusters, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, both of which he wrote and directed. His winning streak has continued with his first live-action effort: Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment in Tom Cruise’s signature spy-fi franchise — and the second to be shepherded by producer J.J. Abrams — has received rave reviews (EW’s Owen Gleiberman even has it on his 10 best of ’11 list) and is poised to be one of the biggest movies of the holiday season. (The film, which opened in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, grossed over $17 million during a 6-day run on 425 IMAX screens.) Bird took a few minutes to speak with EW about the animation-to-live-action-to-IMAX transition. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Mission: Impossible' 4 climbs to No. 1 on Wednesday

Ghost-Protocol

After a highly lucrative advance run almost exclusively in IMAX theaters, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol formally debuted wide on Wednesday, and leapt to the top of the box office with $8.6 million (including $2 mil from Tuesday night showings). Add in the $17.1 million from its 425-theater sneak preview, and Tom Cruise’s fourth Mission film has already grossed a very healthy $25.7 million. With an “A-” CinemaScore, and some of the strongest reviews in the franchise’s history, the film is in a great position heading into the Christmas season.

That is very welcome news for Hollywood, which has already suffered two of its worst weekends in years this month, and seen Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows open $22 million lower than the first Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock film in 2009. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Sherlock Holmes' tops ho-hum weekend with $40 mil

Hollywood’s autumn blues continued as the box office trailed 2010 for the fourth week in a row. Thanks to the surprisingly soft debuts of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, this weekend’s top dozen movies earned about 13 percent less than last year’s. Luckily, next week brings us The Adventures of Tintin, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, We Bought a Zoo, and the wide expansion of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. If those movies can’t lift the business out of the gutter, then Hollywood better start revising its New Year’s resolutions.

Warner Bros.’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, won the weekend with an estimated $40 million. That’s a steep drop from the 2009 original, which debuted to $62.3 million. It’s worth pointing out that the first movie opened on Christmas Day weekend, which helped to inflate its numbers. A Game of Shadows, on the other hand, opted for the weekend before Christmas — a much tougher frame due to the fact that many moviegoers are currently occupied with holiday preparations. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Sherlock Holmes' is No. 1 with an underwhelming $14.7 mil on Friday

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. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Sherlock Holmes' to rejuvenate the slumping movie season

The last two weekends have been the slowest at the box office since September 2008, so thank goodness Sherlock Holmes and some singing chipmunks are now arriving on the scene.

The weeks leading up to Christmas can be tough going at the multiplex, with kids studying for exams and parents rushing to prepare for the holidays. Nonetheless, the one-two punch of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — plus an IMAX preview of the newest Mission: Impossible flick — should snap the box office out of its autumn funk. Here are my predictions for the top five: READ FULL STORY

'Rock of Ages' new trailer: So cheesy it's awesome?

Behold the new trailer for Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages musical, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, Julianne Hough, and a nostalgia-inducing “Dirk Diggler’s name in lights” font. (Actually mis-typed “Julianne Moore” up there. Damnit!) It may cause seizures, but you’ll want to press play if only to see the TERRIBLE wig on TV’s Jack Donaghy as Alec Baldwin Month continues. Watch it here:

READ FULL STORY

Tom Cruise signs on for 'All You Need Is Kill'

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EW has confirmed that Tom Cruise has inked a deal to star in Doug Liman’s forthcoming sci-fi flick All You Need Is Kill. The film, adapted from a graphic novel, follows a soldier (Cruise) who must repeat the same day over and over in order to become a better soldier and win a war against aliens. Dante Harper (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) penned the script with Joby Harold (Awake). The film is slated to begin production in the fall of 2012.

Read more:
New ‘Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol’ featurette: They let Tom Cruise do what!?
‘Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol’ trailer: This time more plot… AND more action
‘Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol’ poster: Suit up!

New 'Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol' clips feature jumping Jeremy Renner, silly Simon Pegg

The upcoming Mission: Impossible fourquel has been mostly kept under wraps. We know it features star Tom Cruise climbing the tallest building in the world, thus setting a new height record for the franchise that will be impossible to beat (unless Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol; Part 2 features a space elevator, which sounds silly, but picture it in 3-D!)

We also know that it co-stars Jeremy Renner, the Hurt Locker Oscar nominee who is on the cusp of a big year: After M:I:GP, he’ll play Hawkeye in Avengers and not-Bourne in The Bourne Legacy. I like to imagine that Cruise brought Renner onboard Mission: Impossible just to help guide him down the path of action-movie stardom. This theory is borne out by a trio of new clips from Ghost Protocol, in which Renner gets extremely nervous about making a big Tom Cruise-style jump. Metaphorically, of course, Renner might just be nervous about jumping from tiny indie films to big Hollywood blockbusters. “Take the jump,” Cruise screams. “The world needs an action movie star who’s not a superhero! Jump! Jump!” Also, Simon Pegg wears a funny outfit. The point is, this looks much better than Mission: Impossible III. READ FULL STORY

'Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol' BMW trailer: Watch!

An extended BMW-centric trailer for Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol doesn’t expand on the plot of the movie, though it’s nice to know we’ll get a potentially deadly fan scene à la Tango & Cash (not everyone’s reference point?) and a dance number. Mostly, it just wants to convey that BMWs are as slick as Tom Cruise in a tux, Tom Cruise doing a modified Bo Duke slide (he goes over the roof of the car not the hood), and Tom Cruise doing anything near glass. That said, I’d like a BMW. Watch it below:  READ FULL STORY

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