I thought seeing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on Christmas Day, on the West side of Los Angeles (home to many holiday movie enthusiasts), would be similar to my previous holiday movie-going experiences. I thought it would be like the time I tried to see Avatar (sold out) or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (sold out) and ended up in the theater for some unmemorable indie flick of the moment. But no: This year, I was able to get tickets to the much-anticipated David Fincher adaptation. And, as it turns out, there were plenty more available.

According to box office reports, the film came in fourth this weekend, behind MI:4, Sherlock Holmes and (ouch!) Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — a movie that reviewer Adam Markovitz called “nothing more than a cynical stab at grabbing kids’ attention.” So with all the rave reviews and the buzz behind Tattoo, why didn’t more people see it this weekend?

Perhaps it’s because Tattoo is a crime thriller where 90 percent of the literate population knows just whodunit. That makes it hard to invest in the film, no matter how much violence, sex, and stylistic Fincher-ism you throw in. Perhaps it’s the fact that an adaptation already exists: Even those who didn’t read the books could have already seen the Swedish film versions, which did quite an adequate job of recounting the Stieg Larsson novels. Perhaps it’s because the new version is 2 hours and 40 minutes long – a marathon compared to some of the other fare that was available to see this past week. Or maybe it’s just that sadomasochism, cold Swedish winters, and abusive families don’t scream “Christmas movie!” to everyone…

Personally, I loved the film — Trent Reznor’s soundtrack and Rooney Mara’s amazing performance as Lisbeth Salandar were definitely worth the price of the ticket. But what do you think PopWatchers? Are you waiting to see Tattoo until after your family leaves, or is it just not on the list of films you’re excited to see this holiday season?

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