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Next mission for ‘M:I 4′ is New Year’s box-office crown

December 30, 2011

With no new movies coming to theaters nationwide, the New Year’s weekend box-office battle will be waged among the big crop of films released around Christmas.

Theaters are hoping to catch moviegoers over a long weekend starting Friday and ending on Monday’s U.S. government holiday, when many people will be home from work or school. Tom Cruise’s action movie “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” – the Christmas weekend winner – looks likely to lead the pack again, according to industry pundits. Distributor Paramount Pictures projects an estimated $40 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over four days for the popular franchise’s fourth installment. Other films fighting for top spots include Warner Bros. detective sequel “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” 20th Century Fox’s family sequel “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” and Sony’s book adaptation and thriller “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Three other family-oriented films also are in the mix - Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse,” released by Disney, and Paramount-distributed “The Adventures of Tintin,” plus “We Bought a Zoo” from Fox.

The movies will close out a disappointing year in terms of dollars at the domestic box office. Ticket sales for the United States and Canada will end the year down an estimated 4 percent from 2010 at $10.2 billion while annual attendance will rank as the lowest since 1995, according to forecasts from the box office division of tracking firm Hollywood.com.

Photo Credit: IndIndustrial Light & Magic

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