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Zac Efron 'New Years Eve,' Robert Pattinson 'Breaking Dawn 1' Surge: Box Office

Jeremy Irvine, War Horse
Jeremy Irvine, War Horse

Tom Cruise/GHOST PROTOCOL Surpasses MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III Total Domestic Take

At the North American box office, trailing Tom Cruise/Jeremy Renner/Paula Patton's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law/Noomi Rapace's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was Mike Mitchell's Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked, which pulled in $18.25 million at no. 3 according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. After 17 days, Chip-Wrecked has collected $94.6 million. Two years ago, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel collected $165.35 million during that same period. Since the picture is quite clear, I won't even bother attempting to adjust The Squeakquel's figure for inflation.

Chip-Wrecked, which cost about $80m, features the voices and/or bodies of Jason Lee, Justin Long, Anna Faris, David Cross, Amy Poehler, Christina Applegate, and Matthew Gray Gubler.

Now at 2,547 theaters, Steven Spielberg's War Horse is galloping at a slower pace. At no. 4 with an estimated $16.94 million, War Horse's per-theater average was a just okay $6,651. For comparison's sake: at 3,455 locations, MI4 - Ghost Protocol's average was $9,045. True, MI4 has the advantage of higher IMAX ticket prices – but only at a few hundred theaters. And all things being equal, the lower the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be. MI4 is playing at about 900 more locations than War Horse.

As for War Horse's soaring 125 percent compared to last weekend ... Well, don't be fooled. War Horse opened last Sunday. It played only one day over the weekend. After eight days, War Horse has taken in $42.96 million. Its budget was reportedly $70 million.

In addition to its four-legged star(s), War Horse features Jeremy Irvine, two-time Oscar nominee Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Hilary and Jackie), Thor's Tom Hiddleston, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Kebbell, David Kross, Celine Buckens, Patrick Kennedy, Robert Emms, and Eddie Marsan.

At no. 5, David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which stars Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, raked in $16.3 million at 2,914 sites, averaging an okay $5,595 per theater. After twelve days, the $90-million thriller's total is a somewhat underwhelming $57.1 million.

In addition to Craig, who hasn't been much of a box office draw (Cowboys & Aliens, Dream House) when not playing James Bond, and Golden Globe nominee Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo features Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgård, Steven Berkhoff, Geraldine James, Joely Richardson, Goran Visnjic, Ulf Friberg, Donald Sumpter, and Tony Way.

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Jeremy Irvine/War Horse photo: David Appleby / DreamWorks

Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, New Year's Eve
Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, New Year's Eve

Starring Matt Damon and former Woody Allen muse Scarlett Johansson, Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo brought in $14.3 million at no. 6 as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. After surging 53 percent, the film's per-theater average was a better-than-expected $4,521 at 3,163 locations. As mentioned in a previous post, despite its performance this New Year's weekend, We Bought a Zoo will have quite a bit of trouble recovering its $50 million budget domestically. Matching it, however, shouldn't be too much a problem despite my early, more dire prediction.

We Bought a Zoo, Crowe's first narrative feature since the Orlando Bloom/Kirsten Dunst/Susan Sarandon box office fiasco Elizabethtown six years ago, also features Angus Macfadyen, Thomas Haden Church, Patrick Fugit, Colin Ford, and Maggie Elizabeth Jones. I'll say it again: when it comes to box office returns, perhaps it's time for Cameron Crowe to pair up with Tom Cruise (Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky) one more time.

At no. 7, Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin drew $12 million at 3,087 theaters. To date, the $125 million motion-capture animated 3D feature has collected $47.87 million domestically. Considering that Tintin has the advantage of higher ticket prices, the North American box office total – despite an enthusiastic reception in Quebec – is disappointing.

Co-produced by Peter Jackson, The Adventures of Tintin features Jamie Bell as Tintin, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Ghost Protocol's Simon Pegg, Cary Elwes, Toby Jones, and Nick Frost.

Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve scored $6.74 million – up 103 percent, for obvious reasons – at no. 8. The all-star omnibus comedy-drama features Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Josh Duhamel, Hilary Swank, among others. Domestic total to date: $46.37 million after four weekends.

Rounding out the top twelve were Chris Gorak/Emile Hirsch/Olivia Thirlby's The Darkest Hour with $4.3 million (total: $13.2 million), George Clooney/Alexander Payne's The Descendants with $3.65 million (total: $39.67 million), Jason Segel/Amy Adams' The Muppets with $2.58 million (total: $82.45 million), and Martin Scorsese/Asa Butterfield's Hugo with $2.52 million (total: $49.53m).

Jason Reitman/Charlize Theron's Young Adult and Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart/Taylor Lautner's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 tied in 13th place with $2 million each. Breaking Dawn's 36 percent surge compared to last weekend was particularly surprising. Total after seven weekends: $275.44 million. How far beyond the inevitable $280 millionBreaking Dawn will reach depends on how steep the drop-off rate next (non-holiday) weekend.

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