As expected, this weekend’s winner was Sherlock Holmes sequel A Game of Shadows, regardless of its general financial outcomes compared to projected estimates of its would-be, and indeed should-be results. The original Sherlock opened for Christmas, while this sequel had a much more favorable release date.

It’s competition did not exist. Considering the track-record of non-adult accessible Alvin and the Chipmunks series, incapable of surpassing its own silliness despite its target audience. The blending of live action with animation is a bizarre concept, and does not sell very well these days. The films are never sure stylistically of their goal, and thus are unable to ever attain them.

So, although children always tend to make for a box office hit, if your film is truly poor enough both in origin of concept, and execution, you will clearly fail. With the Golden Globe nominations released, older audiences are being given a presentation for what actually acceptable cinema is considered to be, viewers will undoubtedly, unfortunately, pay a bit less attention to entertainment films.

Another disadvantage to the success of Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows is in fact its existence. Sequels simply tend not to perform better, particularly when its marketing campaign stresses how much of an improvement over the original it is. It sounds more like a guilty man insisting he is innocent.

Still, Guy Ritchie’s original film had a particularly redeeming scene depicting Sherlock’s aggravation amongst company in a restaurant, not only an insightful gesture towards Arthur Doyle’s writings, but also an addition and in fact a psychologically intriguing polish to Holmes’ persona. So it was quite a successful contemporary interpretation of a beloved character, one which deserved an equally if not superior sequel that has not quite been as successful as a fan would prefer it to be.

It’s Christmas. Oh, that’s the reason, not just holiday cheer. Sherlock’s sequel has opened at a time in which its target audience of young people who—of those who attend college—are completing Finals, while the rest are spending time (forced or not) with family and loved ones. The audience meant to see this film does not have the time to take a look at this, and with Christmas drawing sooner, its numbers will only drop. This is the reason Sherlock didn’t actually have much new competition this weekend.

Although the fourth outing for the Mission: Impossible series has tanked, after its sputtering trilogy could not find an audience, it has in fact been incredibly welcomed in terms of ratings—which is everything the filmmakers could hope for, and everything the studios couldn’t care for—and ultimately managed the highest IMDb rating for any Mission: Impossible film yet.

And back to basics, the IMF is framed just as Ethan Hunt was framed in the Hitchcockian spy-story original signatured by Brian DePalma. It’s too bad it hasn’t performed better against Alvin, but perhaps will find financial solace in its DVD release. The bottom line is, the preceding films simply did not appear to impress numbers-wise enough to encourage movie-goers to spend hard-earned money in the season of spending.

It also likely did not help that it released a fighting sequence between two female agents that was considerably cheesy and flat-out bad. They could use a lesson from the women of Tarantino’s films.

 Weekend Box Office

12-16 to 12-18-11



Title (click to view)


Weekend Gross




Total Gross


Week #



Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  











Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked  











Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol  











New Year’s Eve  











The Sitter  











The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1  











Young Adult  






















Arthur Christmas  











The Muppets