This Christmas, Tom Cruise was "impossible" to beat at the box office.
"Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" was the #1 movie over the long holiday weekend, easily beating competition from two competing sequels with an additional $46.2 million as it expanded into wide release. The fourth entry in the Tom Cruise franchise, this one directed by Brad Bird ("The Incredibles"), has racked up $78.6 million in domestic receipts since it debuted in limited release 11 days ago.
"Ghost Protocol" is the best-reviewed entry in the franchise, which kicked off in 1996 with an inaugural film (based on the popular late '60s TV series) directed by Brian De Palma ("Scarface"). Action maestro John Woo ("The Killer") helmed "M:I 2" four years later. The J.J. Abrams-directed "Mission: Impossible III" grossed $134 million during its theatrical run in 2006.
Meanwhile, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" was reviewed far less favorably than its 2009 predecessor. The film, which reunites Robert Downey Jr. in the title role with Jude Law as his faithful partner, Watson, was #2 at the box office with $31.8 million for a two-week total of $90.6 million. "Downey may think this interpretation is an insight, or funny, but it pushes what was already a rude rewriting of the classic characters into eye-rolling camp," wrote the Newark Star Ledger. The first film sits at 70 percent on film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes' "Tomatometer," while "Game of Shadows" was at a "rotten" 59 percent at press time.
The #3 movie at the box office, itself the third in a series, continues a franchise-long tradition of poor reviews. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" carried a series worst 13 percent score on the "Tomatometer" as it collected $20 million for an 11-day $56.9 million total. Neither "Game of Shadows" nor "Shipwrecked" appear likely to get anywhere near the $200 million grosses of their predecessors.
Four of the other five new releases in theaters were from major filmmakers.
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," the highly anticipated American adaptation of the popular Swedish book from director David Fincher ("Fight Club"), has made $27.7 million since it opened Tuesday night. Steven Spielberg has two new movies out, "The Adventures of Tintin" and "War Horse," which landed at #5 and #7 on the box office chart, respectively. "Tintin" has made $24.1 million while "War Horse" has made $15 million. The latest from director Cameron Crowe opened even lower than his last movie, "Elizabethtown." "We Bought a Zoo," at #6, earned just $15.6 million despite star power in the form of Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. Rock journalist turned filmmaker Crowe has worked with box-office topper Tom Cruise twice: first with "Jerry Maguire" in 1996 and later with "Vanilla Sky" in 2001.
Finally, alien invasion horror flick "The Darkest Hour" opened at #8 with just $5.5 million. The film was not screened in advance for critics, but The Hollywood Reporter, which reviewed the movie, blamed a "flatlining screenplay and the absence of even a single compelling character."
Check out everything we've got on "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.