Friday Report: 'M:I-4,' 'Sherlock' Hold Off 'Dragon,' 'Tintin,' 'Zoo'
Even with three new movies entering the market this week, the top of the box office charts looked awfully familiar this Friday. After expanding to 3,448 locations, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol jumped ahead of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked to claim first place, a position it should be able to hold throughout the remainder of the holiday weekend. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was fine in fourth place, while The Adventures of Tintin and We Bought a Zoo were unable to lure family audiences in large numbers. The Top 10 earned over $37 million on Friday, which is just a tad up from the same date in 2005 (the last time Dec. 23 landed on a Friday), and it doesn't look like this batch of movies is going to do a whole lot to end 2011 on a high note.

The fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise added an estimated $9.74 million on Friday to bring its eight-day total to $42.2 million. Distributor Paramount Pictures is reporting that the movie earned an "A-" CinemaScore, and that the audience was 61 percent male and 65 percent over the age of 25. For the four-day frame (Friday to Monday), Paramount is anticipating close to $40 million.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows fell 54 percent from its opening day to an estimated $5.4 million on Friday. Its total of $65.5 million through eight days is way off from the first Sherlock's $117 million, though that comparison isn't apples-to-apples given the first Sherlock's Christmas Day opening. By New Years, Game of Shadows will likely have closed that gap a bit, though reaching the first movie's $209 million total seems far out of reach at this point.

Chipwrecked eased just 20 percent to $5.4 million, which is a much better hold than the first Alvin had in 2007. It has so far made $42.3 million, and is lagging significantly behind both prior entries in the franchise.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo added an estimated $4.6 million on Friday to bring its three-day total to just shy of $13 million. For comparison, True Grit opened at the same time last year and had earned $16 million through its first three days. The David Fincher-directed remake should get to over $25 million through Monday, which is a decent start that doesn't quite live up to lofty pre-release expectations.

The Adventures of Tintin earned $3.5 million on Friday for a total of $11.5 million (three days in nationwide release plus prior grosses from French-speaking Canada). Paramount is reporting that the audience skewed slightly male (55 percent) and a bit young (51 percent under the age of 25), and the movie scored a solid "A-" CinemaScore. Paramount is also estimating a four-day weekend around $14 million.

We Bought a Zoo debuted in sixth place with an estimated $3 million. That's not an overly impressive start, though the movie does still have a chance to turn things around with children off from school next week.

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Related Chart:

• Grosses for Friday, December 23, 2011