Paramount's "Mission: Impossible _ Ghost Protocol" will maintain its firm grip on the domestic box office with a leading 17 million-plus in Tom Cruise-powered dollars expected for its fourth weekend. By Sunday night, the film should be well on its way toward $400 million worldwide.
The R-rated "The Devil Inside" from Paramount Insurge will be the only wide-release newcomer this weekend and should scare its way to near the top of the chart with a debut in the $12 million to $15 million range. Capitalizing on the success of its "Paranormal Activity" franchise, Paramount hopes for another hit with this mock-reality horror entry.
Warner Bros.' "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" will also enter its fourth weekend with solid momentum as it closes in on the $250 million mark at the global box office. A consistent hold on the No. 2 spot in the midweek race should place it in the third position for the weekend with a domestic gross in the low teens.
Fox's PG-rated "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" continues to be the "go to" movie for the family audience, crossing the $100 million mark domestically on Wednesday. An expected weekend gross in the $10 million range will put the little critters in the top five once again.
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" from Sony has shown itself to be a steady performer after a modest start over Christmas weekend as it continues to build an audience. Having earned over $60 million thus far in North America, the R-rated thriller heads into its third weekend with solid word-of-mouth and a likely take of just under $10 million.
Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of Hollywood.com and provides box office analysis for The Associated Press.