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SALT LAKE CITY -- The dearth of new movie releases has finally caught up with Hollywood. The cumulative box office earnings for the weekend of Dec. 9 were the lowest they have been in three years. While the two new releases from last weekend, "New Year's Eve" and "The Sitter" wound up in first and second respectively, they failed to garner a huge following.
The assumption that "The Muppets" would beat "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" proved to be incorrect yet again. "Breaking Dawn" took third behind "The Sitter," with "The Muppets" following immediately behind in fourth. "Arthur Christmas" proved to be the only accurate prediction from last week, taking fifth and pushing "Hugo" into sixth place.
This weekend trumpets the beginning of the major December blockbuster releases. All three releases are continuations of existing series, proving the resiliency of the original movie franchises. The Tom Cruise action thriller "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" will be released, albeit restricted to IMAX screens, accompanied by "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked." Several minor releases are slated to be released this weekend in addition.
The predictions for the weekend of Dec. 16th are as follows:
It appears that "Sherlock Holmes" will be able to handily achieve first place this weekend. The first film in the series brought in $209 million domestically and $315 million internationally, proving to be well received among moviegoers.
This represents the third installment in this series, immediately preceded by "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel." Interestingly, "Sqeakquel" was also released in 2009 and managed to fare well at $219 million domestically, slightly better than "Sherlock Holmes." If this trilogy can sustain itself, "Chipwrecked" may have a chance at first place, given its lead in 2009 over "Sherlock Holmes."
"Mission Impossible" will be released exclusively to an estimated 400 IMAX screens. A wide release to theaters everywhere will occur later, on Dec. 21. What makes this release interesting is the two-for-one experience that will await dedicated movie fans willing to face sold-out crowds. A six-minute prologue to next summer's "The Dark Night Rises" will be shown, and the prologue will only be shown with the IMAX version.
4. "New Year's Eve"
While lackluster this past weekend, "New Year's Eve" should return for another week on the top five list. Featuring a decent cast of well-known actors, "New Year's Eve" will likely maintain a spot given that it is only in its second week.
For what is likely its last week on the top five, "Breaking Dawn" could push "The Muppets" off the list. "The Muppets" grossed lower than "Breaking Dawn" each week the two have competed.
Joseph Irvine is a self-employed engineer in Madison, Ala. A graduate of Utah State University, Joseph is currently contracting for ClearPlay.