Ghost Protocol
Credit: Industrial Light & Magic
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After a highly lucrative advance run almost exclusively in IMAX theaters, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol formally debuted wide on Wednesday, and leapt to the top of the box office with $8.6 million (including $2 mil from Tuesday night showings). Add in the $17.1 million from its 425-theater sneak preview, and Tom Cruise’s fourth Mission film has already grossed a very healthy $25.7 million. With an “A-” CinemaScore, and some of the strongest reviews in the franchise’s history, the film is in a great position heading into the Christmas season.

That is very welcome news for Hollywood, which has already suffered two of its worst weekends in years this month, and seen Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows open $22 million lower than the first Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock film in 2009. Game of Shadows pulled in $4.5 million on Wednesday for second place and $54 million total. (The first Sherlock, by comparison, had pulled in $93 million by this point, though it did open on Christmas.)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo also opened wide Tuesday night, pulling in $1.6 million and an additional $3.5 million on Wednesday, for $5.1 mil total. David Fincher’s adaptation of the Stieg Larsson best-seller won an outstanding “A” CinemScore — including an “A+” grade from audiences 25-to-34 — so word-of-mouth should help the Christmas counter-programming do well in the coming days.

Looking slightly less healthy is Steven Spielberg’s 3-D family-adventure film, The Adventures of Tintin, which opened Wednesday to $2.3 million. But it did win a solid “A-” CinemaScore, and for a character widely unknown to U.S. audiences (Tintin‘s already grossed $239 million internationally), that really isn’t so bad.

Elsewhere, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked took in $3.5 mil on Wednesday for $33 million total.

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