And cue the hordes of analysts trying to figure out the secret behind the surprise success of "The Devil Inside" this weekend. You rarely expect a new release on the first weekend of the year to bring in the business that the recent horror disaster has. Never mind the fact that it grossed more in its first weekend than any film in my top 20 of 2011, save "Rango". There was no buzz going for the film, or at least none that I saw. Is it maybe that this is the only horror film in the market that drove people to see it? Frankly, I don't care. In the one sense, it brings up the box office heading into this year. In the other, it's an abysmal film, and it's become clear very quickly that nobody here cares about filmmaking.
In holdovers, "Mission: Impossible" continued its victory loop on the way to $200 million and its inevitable sequel pickup. "Sherlock Holmes" is still doing quite well, despite the relatively soft opening it had. It's a kind of reminder of how prosperous the January frame can be for films coming out of the holiday fray, as well as Oscar pics. "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" expanded well, hopefully making the Academy regret not paying as much attention to it before. Overall, this weekend was a strong 37.2% above the same frame last year, when "Season of the Witch" produced an equal product as "The Devil Inside", but yielded much weaker results.
1. "The Devil Inside" (First Weekend; $34.5 million)
2. "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" (Fourth Weekend; $20.5 million)
3. "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (Fourth Weekend; $14.1 million)
4. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (Third Weekend; $11.4 million)
5. "Alvin and the Chipmunks 3" (Fourth Weekend; $9.5 million)
6. "War Horse" (Third Weekend; $8.6 million)
7. "We Bought a Zoo" (Third Weekend; $8.5 million)
8. "The Adventures of Tintin" (Third Weekend; $6.6 million)
9. "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (Fifth Weekend; $5.8 million)
10. "New Year's Eve" (Fifth Weekend; $3.2 million)