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Whisper Numbers: Christmas weekend stuffed with six films.

With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, studios are employing different release strategy to best capture an audience for their product. Six films will open in wide release from Wednesday to Sunday.  Tom Cruise [TCRUI] takes his fourth outing as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol [MISS4]. Looking to get a head start on the competition, Paramount snuck the PG-13 rated film on 425 IMAX screens last Friday earning $12.8 million. The word of mouth has been terrific, which should help propel the sequel to finish in first place. The third film opened with $47.7 million in 2006 during the mist of the Cruise backlash. Ghost Protocol may not match that due to its expanded release pattern, but action fans should out in force all week.   Expanding wide to 3448 theaters on Wednesday, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol could score $45 million over the 4-day holiday weekend.

David Fincher [DFINC] directed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [TGRLW] based on the best-selling novel. Daniel Craig [DCRAI] plays a journalist investigating a mysterious murder with the help of a hacker played by Rooney Mara [RMARA]. Fans of Lisbeth Salander have already made the Swedish film version a success, so anticipation is high for Fincher’s Hollywood update. The dark and violent R-rated thriller may have trouble connecting with some women, but great reviews should pull in enough moviegoers to compensate. Playing in 2914 theaters starting Wednesday, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may tap in $38 million from Friday to Monday.

After a lower than expected debut, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [HOLM2] looks to bounce back over Christmas weekend. Even with much tougher competition, there should be enough business over the lucrative holiday season to go around. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows looks to secure $35 million over the 4-day weekend.

The Adventures of Tintin [TINTN] is the first of two films directed by Steven Spielberg [SSPIE] opening this week. The PG-rated, motion-captured, 3D animated film targets families with children too old for Alvin and the Chipmunks. While Tintin is not well known in the United States, parents trust the Spielberg brand. Playing in 3087 theaters, The Adventures of Tintin could uncover $25 million from Friday to Monday.

Matt Damon [MDAMO] and Scarlett Johansson [SJOHA] star in the romance We Bought a Zoo [WBZOO] from writer-director Cameron Crowe [CCROW]. The PG-rated film has suffered from a lack of awareness, which Fox tried to rectify through multiple sneak screenings. The film lacks a must-see factor and its target female audience may be too preoccupied to rush out this weekend. Opening on Friday in 3000+ theaters, We Bought a Zoo may tally $17 million over the 4-day holiday weekend.

Opening on Christmas day Sunday, War Horse [WHORS] is the second Steven Spielberg film out of the gate. The PG-13 rated drama follows a horse and his young first owner through World War I. Lacking any starpower, the film will also draw on the Spielberg name. The film has built up considerable buzz as a leading Oscar contender, which will bring out the older adult crowd. Galloping into 2300+ theaters, War Horse could clear $13 million during its first two days.

Summit joins the festivities with the sci-fi The Darkest Hour [DRKHR]. The alien invasion flick hopes to attract young guys with its special effects. Descending upon 2200+ locations on Sunday, The Darkest Hour may light up just $4 million through Monday.

That’s the whisper from the trading floor.


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By Box Office Whisperer on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 @ 04:43 PM 17523 views

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