After two sluggish weeks at the domestic box office, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" is on the case and ready to solve the recent slump with an expected gross of around $65 million.
The Warner Bros. film starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is the follow-up to 2009's hugely successful "Sherlock Holmes," which opened with $65.4 million and went on to earn over half a billion dollars worldwide.
Chipping away at second place with around $35 million will be the debut of Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," the third installment of the popular family franchise that has made nearly $800 million globally.
IMAX will make a splash with preview showings of Paramount's "Mission: Impossible _ Ghost Protocol" in 300 large format venues in advance of its wide release on Dec. 21. Add to that 125 engagements in selected traditional theaters, and total preview receipts could hit $10 million _ in only 425 theaters.
The fourth-place position should belong to Warner Bros.' romantic ensemble comedy "New Year's Eve," with a second-weekend gross of around $7 million to $8 million.
Fifth-place honors will likely go to the second weekend of Fox's R-rated comedy "The Sitter," at around $5 million to $6 million.
Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of Hollywood.com and provides box office analysis for The Associated Press.