One year ago, the release date for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was anything but positive. A Tom Cruise movie opening against a Robert Downey Jr. movie in 2011 was bound to fail. If this were 2004, it would be the other way around. But, Hollywood is the master mattress flipper and anything can happen.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows opened to $40 million, a decent opening but nothing great (the first opened to roughly $60 million but opened on Christmas Day). It’s been gaining momentum through the weekdays but the box office crown currently goes to Ghost Protocol, which has bet expectations. It’s not breaking any insane records but it debuted to $13 million in it’s limited opening weekend (425 IMAX screens only) and won this past weekend with $26 million(4-Day even better with $46 million) and should have a great week(s) ahead and could top Sherlock in terms of total gross and also has an outside shot at being the top grosser of the entire franchise.
When Mission Impossible 3 opened between $40-50 million a few years back everyone labeled it a disappointment right away. This is a Tom Cruise production! This is a Mission Impossible film! It should have done better. This still doesn’t mean Tom Cruise is back to his pre-couch jumping stature, nor do I think he’ll ever be (he broke the image of celebrity with that one) but this does bode well for his future choices and highlights his passion and drive. And it also helps that the film is a lot of fun and will garner positive word-of-mouth for some late legs through the New Year.
As for Robert and Sherlock? It’s a stumble, for sure. Everyone thought it would open well above the original but it didn’t and it could be a number of reasons: the original did well but the word-of-mouth wasn’t great enough to see the sequel, poor timing, poor advertising… I’ve seen Sherlock as well and while it’s fun and a step up from the original (for me) the series still has a ton of issues. But Robert’s stature won’t be affected; it feels like we’re going backwards in time.