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Tom Cruise takes quiet Christmas with $26.5m 'Mission'

27 December, 2011

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Tom Cruise's latest mission has won a holiday weekend that's shaping up with some silent nights at movie theatres as business continues to lag.

Studio estimates Sunday placed Cruise's "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol" a solid No 1 with $26.5 million domestically over its first weekend in full release. The movie raised its total to $59 million since it started a week earlier in huge-screen cinemas and expanded nationwide last Wednesday, and distributor Paramount estimated that revenues will reach $72.7 million by Monday.

Cruise's fourth "Mission" flick was a bright spot over a Christmas weekend filled with so-so tidings for Hollywood, whose usually busy holiday stretch since Thanksgiving has been a bust.

Generally well-reviewed movies from Steven Spielberg ("The Adventures of Tintin"), David Fincher ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") and Cameron Crowe ("We Bought a Zoo") — with casts that include Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Daniel Craig — opened with modest to weak results.

Despite predictions from studio executives that 2011 could be a record-setter that would finish with a bang, domestic revenues remained stuck at a sluggish pace that has lingered all year.

Hollywood should finish the year with $10.1 billion domestically, down 4.5 percent from 2010, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

The picture gets worse taking into account higher ticket prices, which mean Hollywood brings in fewer fans for each dollar spent. Actual domestic attendance for 2011 will close out at about 1.27 billion, down 5.3 percent from the previous year's and the lowest head count since 1995, when admissions totaled 1.26 billion.

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