Box Office: Super Bowl Weekend Estimates, Plus Tom Cruise Sets A New Record

Once again it seems that we are on pace to have another better-than-expected weekend at the box office. In recent years, the smart thing has been to offer counterprogramming to entice attendance. While that usually means a female-centric release (see 2009’s He’s Just Not That Into You – which earned $27 million – or 2010’s Dear John – which made $30 million opening weekend), this year it seems that two studios were vying for teenage youths. It now looks like both CBS Films’ The Woman in Black and Fox’s Chronicle are projected to earn around $20 million, with a slight edge given to Black to finish in first place. Both are getting good word of mouth, especially the found-footage release Chronicle. Expect this one to only have a slight drop in attendance next week, despite being up against Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Safe House.

The other new release this weekend, Big Miracle, had the biggest production budget of the three films, but also scored a Cinemascore of ‘A’. So there again is an opportunity for positive word to lift its earnings in the coming weeks. Last week’s number one, The Grey, had an expected 52% drop facing new competition, but should have $34 million after two weeks in release.

Now the other big development is the overall success of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. You would think Paramount Pictures nuts to want to go ahead with a fourth Mission: Impossible installment after Fox’s Knight and Day could only muster $72 million domestic. But it’s always good to pay attention to international numbers, because nearly 71% of its total earnings came from overseas. Knowing this a fourth installment in the successful franchise was made. Having put his infamous couch-jumping incident behind him, Tom Cruise may be inclined to kick up his heels at the news that with a global gross of $600 million-plus, Ghost Protocol is now the highest-grossing film in his career.

The success of Ghost Protocol probably won’t influence Cruise’s upcoming projects in terms of box office numbers – including this June’s Rock of Ages – but at least we know he’ll choose to accept another impossible mission sometime in the next three years.

Read our complete weekend box office analysis on Monday.

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