Though the holiday season tends to bring out some blockbusters, Christmas itself is a terrible day for movies. And this year, with Christmas Eve on a Saturday and Christmas on a Sunday, we’re not going to see strong weekend numbers from anyone. Something that’s going to repeat next weekend with New Year’s. Then again, it’s been a weak year, and last weekend proved it. This weekend we get The Adventures of Tintin, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in it’s non-Imax run, We Bought a Zoo, The Darkest Hour and War Horse going wide. Busy busy.

Mission: Impossible had a great Imax launch and people are enthusiastic about it. That’s going to be good for both Tom Cruise and Brad Bird as a lot rested on this. The question is how long it plays. They would like it to hit $200 domestic, though international on this one is where the money is. Still, it would be good for everyone if Cruise has a domestic hit on his hands. It’s been a while. They should be around a $60 Million total by the end of the weekend, and if it takes number one it should stay there for next week. They have to hope that good word of mouth and holiday schedules keeps the film in play. Considering that the third film did $134 domestic, they really have to beat that number.

Dragon Tattoo is getting mixed word of mouth, and everyone is hoping that it’s the book that does a lot of the heavy lifting. With it they must be hoping for a slightly longer play because it has no award heat, and so far the numbers aren’t that great. If next week the film does about the same business (which is not that rare) they may be leaving 2011 with a little over $50 Million. Which means that the best would be a scenario where the film does over $100 domestic, unless it plays into January. The original films did well internationally, so it will be interesting to see how the movie plays abroad.

Tintin seems to have been stronger internationally, and the domestic release is sort of messed up by having two Steven Spielberg films hitting at the same time. I wouldn’t doubt both getting best picture nominations (animated for Tintin), but this seems a horrible mistake. War Horse opens Sunday, so it shouldn’t make much of an impression, but it’s not getting “masterpiece” pull quotes, which is what it needs. It’s possible that Tintin was sold well to children, so it may have some life yet. But on Wednesday its numbers were trumped by Alvin and the Chipmunks.The film was financed by a number of different companies, with Sony getting international. It’s quite possible we could get a sequel to the very expensive film, while it’s domestic numbers don’t crack $100. As with all box office discussion, international is the name of the game these days.

We Bought a Zoo has such mellow charms and zero Oscar buzz that it will be interesting to see if it gets any traction whatsoever. Perhaps the problem is that it’s a little too late in the year. Fox snuck it a lot, which led critics to already review it, and so the film seems done. Weird.

So let’s look at the weekend.

  1. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol - $27.5 Million
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – $19.3 Million
  3. Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows – $17.5 Million
  4. Alvin and the Chimunks 3 – $12.5 Million
  5. The Adventures of Tintin – $11 Million

Which puts We Bought a Zoo out of the top five. Weekends like this are about family, and movies are a good way to avoid them. Should be interesting.