By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: As is often the case, the last weekend of the year is basically a repeat of last weekend, both in general ranking and numbers, as the holiday weekend tends to keep drops low, if often absent. Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol led the pack of major Christmas and holiday releases that actually went up from last weekend. The Brad Bird spy thriller earned $31 million over Fri-Sun, with an eye towards a likely $40 million four-day holiday weekend. At the end of its third weekend, the first of which was IMAX-exclusive, the crowd-pleasing Tom Cruise vehicle will have grossed $140 million by Monday, which means it has already outgrossed the $134 million-grossing Mission: Impossible III. Overseas, the sequel is doing even bigger business, with a worldwide total of $324 million as we close out 2011. The $215 million gross of John Woo’s Mission: Impossible II is likely out of reach, but surpassing the $181 million gross from Brian DePalma’s Mission: Impossible is not only possible but plausible. Worldwide, the film is shaping up to be $600 million earner, the respective totals, speculative as they may be now, would make this film Tom Cruise’s third-biggest domestic grosser and his biggest worldwide earner ever. MI4 already ranks ninth on both lists.
Coming it at a strong second place was Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Both it and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked debuted below expectations two weeks ago, but both have used the holiday season to pick up lost ground, proving again that the last two weeks of the year are great for leggy runs. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows grossed $22 million, for a new total of $132 million. Combined with Monday’s grosses, that should put the second Sherlock Holmes picture exactly where the first was at the end of its New Year’s weekend, albeit with an extra seven days to get there. Point being, if the film can avoid complete collapse in the mostly barren January (and said mediocre January slate will boost every single film discussed here today), it may get closer to the $209 million domestic total of Sherlock Holmes than anyone thought possible two weeks ago. Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 earned $18 million for the weekend, giving it $94 million with the strong possibility of crossing the $100 million mark on […]