"Sherlock Holmes" sequel leads slower box office

Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:38pm EST
 
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Action adventure film "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" led a trio of sequels at the box office over another underwhelming weekend that saw ticket sales fall from last year.

Robert Downey Jr.'s follow-up to the 2009 hit "Sherlock Holmes" pulled in an estimated $54.7 million around the world, distributor Warner Bros. said on Sunday.

That included $40 million from the United States and Canada, where the movie topped the domestic charts, plus $14.7 million from six international markets.

"Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," the third film in the popular family franchise, rung up a global total of $38 million in sales, including a second-place domestic finish of $23.5 million. Thirty-eight international markets added $14.5 million.

Overall, the domestic box office repeated a sluggish trend of recent weeks and dashed hopes for a major kickstart before a crush of big-budget Christmas films hits theaters.

Sales for all movies from Friday through Sunday will reach about $119 million domestically, according to estimates from Hollywood.com Box Office. That is 11.6 percent below the same weekend last year and follows the worst box office weekend in three years.

"The momentum we have lost over the past few weeks has taken its toll on the bottom line," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box Office. "Thankfully there are some big titles on the way."

In third place for the weekend, Tom Cruise brought some holiday cheer as his fourth "Mission: Impossible" movie opened with a strong $13 million at just 425 domestic theaters over three days. "Sherlock Holmes" and "Chipwrecked" played in more than 3,700 theaters each.   Continued...