WB pic bests competish with $14.7 mil; 'Protocol' earns $4.1 mil in limited release

Warner Bros. is looking at its second consecutive weekend on top as “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” trounced the competition yesterday with $14.7 million.

WB won last frame, during the lowest overall domestic B.O. weekend in three years, with “New Year’s Eve.” Pic dropped 50% to fourth place yesterday with $2.5 million.

Pre-weekend estimates had “Sherlock Holmes” coming in north of $50 million through Sunday (its predecessor made $62 million Christmas weekend 2009), but B.O. observers have since scaled back their predictions to the low- or mid-$40 million range, which is more than enough to win the weekend.

In second, Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” earned $6.8 million domestically Friday. Studio is hoping for a three-day take of $25 million, but yesterday’s gross suggests the threequel will land just shy of that target.

Paramount bowed “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” an unprecedented week early only for 425 large-format screens like Imax Stateside to about $4.1 million yesterday. Of that, $1.1 million came from Thursday midnight screenings, a comparable sum to 2006’s “Mission: Impossible III” midnight haul, but on 21% as many screens, albeit aided slightly by large screen surcharges.

Lastly, in fifth Fox’s “The Sitter” grossed another $1.4 million for a domestic cume of $14.8 million.

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