'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' Remake to Surpass Original on First Weekend?

Daniel Craig, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Trailing Brad Bird/Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Mike Mitchell's Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked was David Fincher's remake of Niels Arden Oplev's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara – replacing Michael Nyqvist (featured in Ghost Protocol) and Noomi Rapace (featured in A Game of Shadows) – the American remake pulled in an estimated $4.6 million on Friday, Dec. 23, as per early, rough estimates found at both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is expected to earn $12.3 million over the three-day weekend, which is about $2 million more than the original earned in the United States, where most people suffer nervous breakdowns whenever they have to read subtitles. Now, does it sound impressive that the American remake is earning more on a weekend than the Swedish original earned throughout its run? Well, maybe. Considerably less impressive is that the $90 million-budgeted David Fincher movie will reach only about $20 million after five days (and one third, as it actually opened on Tuesday evening).

In addition to Craig, who hasn't been much of a 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.

At no. 5, Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin is way underperforming in North America – except in French-speaking Quebec, where it has done quite well. Tintin brought in an estimated $3.7 million on Friday and is expected to earn less than $9.5 million by Christmas evening. That would bring the motion-capture animated feature's domestic total to about $17.5 million (a not inconsiderable chunk of it in Quebec, where Tintin has already grossed more than $3.2 million).

Co-produced by Peter Jackson, The Adventures of Tintin features Jamie Bell as Tintin, Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Mission: Impossible IV's Simon Pegg, Cary Elwes, Toby Jones, and Nick Frost.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo photo: Baldur Bragason / Columbia TriStar

Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, We Bought a Zoo, Patrick Fugit
Patrick Fugit, Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, We Bought a Zoo

Despite the presence of Matt Damon, one of the most likable actors around, and former Woody Allen muse Scarlett Johansson, on Friday, Dec. 23, the kiddie-oriented We Bought a Zoo brought in a mere $3 million, landing at no. 6 on the North American box office chart according to early, rough estimates found at both The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com. Directed by Cameron Crowe, who has been luckier with Tom Cruise (Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky), and distributed by 20th Century Fox, We Bought a Zoo is expected to gross less than $8 million at 3,117 locations over the three-day weekend.

Memories of the tragic, bloody slaughter of dozens of wild animals in Ohio a few weeks ago – the animals had been part of a private zoo – are likely not the reason for We Bought a Zoo's poor opening. But hefty movie-ticket prices, year-end expenses, and the weak U.S. economy just might. A family of four could easily end up spending over $100 at the movies these days. Not many can afford that luxury. Or perhaps it's just that live animals that don't talk are less interesting than chipmunks that do.

We Bought a Zoo, Crowe's first narrative feature since the Orlando Bloom/Kirsten Dunst/Susan Sarandon box office flop Elizabethtown back in 2005, has a so-so 65 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. The film's screenwriter, Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), had a major critical and box office flop a few weeks ago, the Sarah Jessica Parker comedy I Don't Know How She Does It, which earned less than $10 million in North America.

In addition to Damon and Johansson, the We Bought a Zoo cast includes Angus Macfadyen, Thomas Haden Church, Patrick Fugit, Colin Ford, and Maggie Elizabeth Jones.

Rounding out the top movies on Friday were Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve with an estimated $1.1 million, Sarah Smith/James McAvoy's Arthur Christmas with $1 million, Amy Adams/Jason Segel's The Muppets with almost $1 million, and Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 with nearly $650k. Unless it gets unseated by The Sitter, Breaking Dawn will likely remain among North America's top ten movies throughout the Christmas weekend – its sixth. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner star.

Comparing Breaking Dawn to the three previous Twilight movies: David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Chris Weisz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight remained on the top-ten chart for five weekends. Will Breaking Dawn beat that three-way tie/record?

But wait, there's also an offering from New Regency and Summit Entertainment – Breaking Dawn's distributor – coming out on Christmas Day: The Darkest Hour, an apocalyptic sci-fi thriller ideal for this time of year. Directed by former art director Chris Gorak (Minority Report, Fight Club, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), and starring Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, and Rachael Taylor, The Darkest Hour hasn't been screened for critics. Chances are it won't usurp Breaking Dawn's spot among the top ten. [Addendum: But Steven Spielberg's War Horse at 2,376 locations just might. Forgot about that one last night. In all likelihood, Breaking Dawn's only chance to stay on the top-ten chart is if it manages to beat The Muppets and/or Arthur Christmas. That's not impossible, but at this stage it doesn't seem too likely.]

The all-star omnibus comedy-drama New Year's Eve stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Josh Duhamel, Hilary Swank, and others.

In addition to Stewart, Pattinson, and Lautner, the extensive Breaking Dawn cast includes Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Dakota Fanning, MyAnna Buring, Booboo Stewart, and Michael Sheen.

Plus Maggie Grace, Lee Pace, Sarah Clarke, Anna Kendrick, Christian Serratos, Christopher Heyerdahl, Michael Welch, Christian Camargo, Julia Jones, Gil Birmingham, Kiowa Gordon, Billy Burke, Bronson Pelletier, Charlie Bewley, Tyson Houseman, Daniel Cudmore, Jamie Campbell Bower, Casey LaBow, Mia Maestro, and Alex Meraz.

Matt Damon/Scarlett Johansson/We Bought a Zoo picture: Neal Preston / 20th Century Fox.

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Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Trailing Brad Bird/Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was David Fincher's remake of Niels Arden Oplev's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara replacing Michael Nyqvist (featured in Ghost Protocol) and Noomi Rapace (featured in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows). The Swedish-set American remake earned a good – though hardly outstanding – $5.06 million at 2,914 locations on Wednesday, Dec. 21, in North America, as per Box Office Mojo.

The thriller's per-theater average was $1,738 – or about $850 less than Ghost Protocol's at 3,448 sites. Admittedly, the Tom Cruise actioner has the advantage of IMAX ticket-price surcharges. (All things being equal – including the fact that both Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt and Rooney Mara's Lisbeth Salander walk around hooded – the fewer the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be.)

In addition to Craig and Golden Globe nominee Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo cast also includes Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgård, Steven Berkhoff, Geraldine James, Joely Richardson, Goran Visnjic, Ulf Friberg, Donald Sumpter, and Tony Way.

Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows added $4.28 million at no. 3 on Wednesday, thus finally passing the $50 million mark in North America. Box-office pundits had been expecting the Sherlock Holmes sequel would have passed that mark last Saturday or Sunday. A Game of Shadows' current domestic cume is $54 million.

Supporting Robert Downey Jr in A Game of Shadows are Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, the aforementioned Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Kelly Reilly, Jared Harris, Paul Anderson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Geraldine James, and Eddie Marsan.

Mike Mitchell's animated feature Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked, floated back up on Wednesday, as kids are now out of school and must have been pestering their parents to take them to see the talking chipmunks. Chip-Wrecked earned $3.5 million at no. 4, totaling $32.97 million after six days. Back on Christmas 2009, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel earned $40.6 million in its first three days, even surpassing James Cameron's Avatar on its first day out.

The latest Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, which cost approximately $80 million, features the voices and/or bodies of Jason Lee, Justin Long, Anna Faris, David Cross, Amy Poehler, Christina Applegate, and Matthew Gray Gubler.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo photo: Baldur Bragason / Columbia TriStar

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