Box Office: ‘Mission Impossible’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes’ top the last Friday of 2011

The year is mercifully coming to an end for Hollywood after 12 months of disappointing ticket sales across the board.  Ending the year on a high note is “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.”  Brad Bird’s first foray into live action was the top film in the nation again Friday with another $10.7 million and $113.5 million so far. The Tom Cruise comeback should easily pass “Mission: Impossible III’s” $134 million gross sometime next weekend and its worldwide take of $397.8 million later this month. “Ghost Protocol’s” performance against some tough competition proves the franchise still has a lot left in the tank and that’s one holiday gift Paramount was very happy to receive.

Faring better than originally expected in second place is “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.”  Warner Bros. may have made a strategic error opening the picture on the last holiday shopping weekend before Christmas, but the Guy Ritchie flick has kept kicking with strong word of mouth.  “Shadows” grossed another $7.6 million on Friday for $117.6 million so far.  It won’t hit the domestic heights of the first film, but will easily surpass $150 million when all is said and done.

Also improving after its Dec. 16 debut is 20th Century Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.”  The family flick rebounded after the holiday with strong midweek grosses.  Friday found another $7.1 million and $83.4 million so far.  It should easily pass the $100 million mark in the New Year.

Sony Pictures’ “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” found the fourth slot with another $5.3 million and $46.1 million in just 10 days.  The 2 hour and 40 minute “Tattoo” will likely tap out around $80 million.  Solid, but not spectacular.  Sony is going to have to hope international audiences fuel “Tattoo’s” cume if it wants to recover the film’s reported $140 million price tag.

Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought A Zoo” has also shown some resiliency during the holiday week.  After Friday’s $4.9 million, the Matt Damon thriller has grossed $32.3 million in just 8 days. If Fox is lucky, “Zoo” could eventually end up in the $60 million range domestically.

Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” has been solid since its strong Christmas day gross, but has tapered off a bit.  The period tearjerker found another $4.6 million on Friday for $30.7 million in just 6 days.

In limited release, “The Iron Lady” debuted in just four theaters with $76,300 or an impressive $19,075 per screen.  

Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.