Box Office: Moviegoers accept ‘Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ with $8.6 million Wednesday

The holiday weekend box office kicked off a tad early this year as two highly anticipated films debuted Wednesday hoping to turn 2012’s tailspin around.

Brad Bird’s live action debut, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” grossed $8.6 million including $2 million in Tuesday night shows as the fourth installment in the franchise expanded to non-IMAX screens nationwide.  Counting Friday’s IMAX cume, “MI4” has already found $25.7 million.  Overseas, the results are even stronger as Cruise’s star power has fueled $85 million. That’s pretty impressive these days considering the picture doesn’t have higher 3D ticket prices and IMAX’s penetration is not as strong as it is stateside.

David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” came in second with $5.1 million including $1.6 million from Tuesday night engagements.  Considering that “Dragon Tattoo” is a staggering 2 hours and 40 minutes, Sony Pictures has to be relieved with the film’s performance so far. At a reported $140 million, “Tattoo” will need long legs and strong international grosses to break even.

“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” dropped to third (technically) with another $4.3 million and $54 million since debuting Friday.  This sequel may not make what the original one did domestically two years ago, but it will be a solid player throughout the holiday season.

“Chipwrecked” benefited from more kids being out of school as it found $3.5 million and $33 million to date.  Unfortunately, Alvin and the gang have a lot more work to do if they hope to catch “Alvin and the Chipmunk: The Squeakquel’s” $219 million 2009 take.

Disappointing a bit in its U.S. opening was Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin.”  The critically acclaimed 3D animated adventure found just $2.3 million on Wednesday.  Industry observers have long known that “Tintin” would make it’s mark overseas where the Herge creation is much more popular.  It’s grossed over $240 million internationally so far.

Look for continuing box office updates throughout the holidays on HitFix.