Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol led as the very long Christmas weekend box office kicked off Wednesday.
Dragon Tattoo opened with $5.1 million, including early-bird, 7 p.m. Tuesday screenings, its studio estimated. All in all, a solid start for a pitch-black, R-rated movie unspooling during the most wonderful time of the year.
Ghost Protocol, which moved onto to nearly 3,500 screens after a whiz-bang limited-release debut last weekend, dominated with $8.5 million, Exhibitor Relations reported.
Tintin, meanwhile, was buried by the new and newish competition, coming away with $2.3 million.
"Not a great start for Tintin," Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock said in an email. "But I expect it will pick up over the weekend."
Even if it doesn't, Tintin can console itself with the $200 million-plus it's already banked thanks to overseas audiences. (Based on a Belgian comic strip, the motion-capture adventure opened in Europe and elsewhere in late October.)
Last weekend's two disappointing sequels did OK business Wednesday. Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows earned $4.3 million, per Exhibitor Relations; Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, $3.5 million.
Overall, Cruise and the "feel-bad movie of Christmas" helped Hollywood shake a bit of its holiday malaise.
Last year, the top two midweek Christmas openers, Little Fockers and True Grit, combined to gross $12.6 million on the Wednesday before the 25th; Ghost Protocol and Dragon Tattoo teamed up for $13.6 million.