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‘Ghost Protocol’ tops crowded Christmas frame

Pic nabs estimated three-day gross of $26.5 mil

Paramount’s ”Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” continued its Christmas B.O. domination, with an updated estimated three-day gross of $26.5 million and four-day estimates at $40.3 million, pushing the film’s Stateside cume to $72.6 million as of Monday.

”Ghost Protocol” topped a crowded frame, including five other wide releases this weekend.

Soph-sesh holdover ”Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” managed to rank second, with an estimated $17.8 million in three days. Pic’s cume through Sunday stands at $76.6 million, positioning ”Sherlock” as a solid contender to be one of the holiday season’s best-grossing domestic player.

Sony’s adult-targeted new entry ”The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” posted a three-day tally of $13 million for a domestic cume of $21.4 million. ”Tattoo” opened Dec. 21 for latenight screenings.

Though the weekend saw sluggish business with Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday, B.O. observers expect theater traffic to increase by mid-afternoon today that should carry through to the new year.

Most studios plan to release four-day estimates early Monday.

Among the weekend’s other top players, Fox’s family holdover ”Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” tallied an estimated $13.3 million from Friday to Sunday, with a domestic cume of $50.3 million.

”Chipwrecked” handidly beat the market’s other kidpic, Par’s ”The Adventures of Tintin,” which scored a three-day opening gross of $9.1 million and $14.3 million in four days. ”Tintin” launched Wednesday for a Stateside tally of $22.3 million through Monday, including Canadian grosses.

Fox’s Cameron Crowe-helmed ”We Bought a Zoo” opened Friday, posting in three days an estimated $7.8 million.

At the specialty B.O., the Weinstein Co. broadened its pair, ”The Artist” and ”My Week with Marilyn,” with the latter pic playing at 602 locations, yielding an estimated three-day gross just north of $500,000. ”The Artist,” which played at far fewer engagements (167), actually did better than ”Marilyn,” tallying through Sunday an estimated $857,000. ”Marilyn” has cumed $6.9 million; ”The Artist,” $2.4 million.

David Glasser, COO at Weinstein, attributed that to the studio’s patient rollout strategy for ”The Artist.”

”People are still discovering the film,” Glasser said. ”Now, what we’re seeing in the exits is that people are coming out of it saying, ‘That wasn’t what I expected.”’

Launching wide today are Disney-DreamWorks’ ”War Horse” and Summit’s ”The Darkest Hour.”

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