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Entertainment & Arts

A ‘Batman’ bounce for ‘Mission: Impossible’

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Paramount Pictures’ “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” got off to a strong start at the box office this weekend — but how much of that had to do with the teaser for “The Dark Knight Rises” that played before the movie?

The Christopher Nolan-directed Batman film, out this summer, is expected to be one of 2012’s biggest box office draws — so hard-core fans might have rushed out to get an early glimpse of the Warner Bros.’ superhero movie this weekend. Still, the teaser — dubbed a “prologue” — was playing on only about 40 of the 300 IMAX screens where “Mission” was playing this weekend, meaning it’s unlikely the preview boosted the film’s $13-million haul substantially.

“I’m sure people are interested in seeing the prologue,” said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “But I don’t think you can attribute the prologue to pushing the entire gross. You can certainly attribute the prologue to pumping it up in a couple of locations, but it would be ludicrous to think the promotion of the prologue itself propelled ‘Mission.’”

Greg Foster, chairman and president of IMAX Filmed Entertainment, said a 31% uptick in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday indicated there was “no doubt that ‘Mission’ is working.”

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Because Warner Bros.’ new “Sherlock Holmes” movie was not booked into IMAX theaters this weekend, the studio could not offer the Batman prologue in front of a movie made by its own studio on the large format screens. A “Dark Knight” teaser did play, however, in front of “Sherlock” on 2-D screens.

The latest “Mission: Impossible” flick also launched in 36 foreign territories this weekend and raked in $68.2 million overseas. The picture was the top choice for moviegoers in South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, where the film had its premiere recently.


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