Simon Pegg, Tom Cruise, ...
Credit: David James

Even though 2011 will go down as the least attended year at the movies since 1995, this year’s box office did pull off a neat trick by crossing $10 billion earlier this week. Granted, if we adjusted for inflation, many other years would also reach $10 billion in total ticket sales, but 2011 is only the third year (joining 2009 and 2010) to hit the milestone in real dollars.

Leading the charge on Friday was Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, which jumped 10 percent from last Friday to take in $10.7 million. The fourth entry in the “Tom Cruise can do anything” action series should finish the weekend with around $30 million, bringing its cumulative tally to nearly $133 million. On Monday, the film should pass Mission: Impossible III‘s $134 million domestic total, and will then set its sights on the first Mission: Impossible, which collected $181 million in 1996.

In second was the sleuthing sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows with $7.7 million — a 13 percent rise from last Friday. The movie should finish the weekend with about $21 million. Right behind Mr. Holmes was Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which jumped a huge 31 percent from last Friday for $7.1 million. Family films often see big spikes in their grosses during the week after Christmas, as kids are still out of school and parents are no longer occupied with holiday preparations. Chipwrecked is on track for an $18 million weekend.

Fourth place went to David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, up 16 percent for $5.4 million. And in fifth with $4.9 million was Cameron Crowe’s family drama We Bought a Zoo, which rose an incredible 64 percent from last Friday. There’s a chance that the Steven Spielberg WWI epic War Horse, in sixth place with $4.7 million, could snatch fifth place from Zoo by Sunday night.

In limited release, The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, opened to $76,000 in four theaters for a commanding per-location average of $19,000. Check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.

1. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol — $10.7 mil

2. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows — $7.7 mil

3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — $7.1 mil

4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — $5.4 mil

5. We Bought a Zoo — $4.9 mil