In a boost for the domestic box office, Paramount's horror film The Devil Inside opened to a record-breaking $34.5 million, helping to drive up theatrical revenues by more than 25 percent over last year.
The Devil Inside crushed even the most generous forecasts this weekend and easily claimed first place ahead of fellow Paramount release Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Its impressive debut combined with strong holdover performances resulted in an estimated $128.2 million Top 12 gross, which is up over 25 percent from the same weekend last year.
The R-rated movie--acquired by Paramount for only $1 million--scored the best opening ever for early January, and the third biggest for the month after fellow Paramount title Cloverfield ($40.1 million) andGeorge Lucas' 1997 reissue of Star Wars ($35.9 million).
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol dropped down to second place after leading the box office for the past few weeks. The movie eased just 30 percent to an estimated $20.5 million, and it has now made an impressive $170.2 million.
Warner Bros.’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows also held well this weekend: the sequel was off 33 percent to an estimated $14.1 million, and has so far made $157.4 million. It has closed the gap with the first Sherlock Holmes to less than $23 million, though it's appearing less likely that the movie will ultimately close over $200 million.
Dipping just 24 percent to an estimated $11.3 million, David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had the best hold among all nationwide releases this weekend. The movie has now earned $76.8 million, and a Sony spokesperson indicated that they believe the movie is on pace to ultimately wind up with over $100 million.
Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked fell 42 percent to an estimated $9.5 million, which was good for fifth place this weekend. The movie passed $100 million on Wednesday, and has so far grossed $111.6 million.
Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo had nearly identical results this weekend. War Horse added $8.6 million for a $56.8 million total, while We Bought a Zoo was just behind with $8.45 million and $56.5 million gross-to-date.
Spielberg’s animated feature, The Adventures of Tintin, fell 42 percent to $6.6 million this weekend. The Steven Spielberg-directed animated adventure has now made $61.9 million. That's okay given the movie's impressive overseas haul, though it does show pretty conclusively that domestic audiences never really bought in to the movie in the way one would expect given that it was directed by Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy expanded to 809 locations this weekend and earned a solid $5.77 million. It had the second-best per-theater average among wide releases ($7,129) behind The Devil Inside, and should add substantially to its $10.4 million total through the remainder of the awards season.
Box office numbers were obtained on boxofficemojo.com.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.