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‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ battles ‘Mission: Impossible’ sequel

David Fincher’s highly anticipated take on the popular Swedish film “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which has finally hit theaters, is already leaving its mark on moviegoers.

The movie, starring Rooney Mara, opened in 2,700 theaters nationwide at 7 p.m. Tuesday and grossed a respectable $1.6 million, based on an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures. Those who saw the picture, based on the first novel in Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s bestselling trilogy, loved it —giving it an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore.

Such positive word of mouth could provide a boost for the film over the Christmas holiday weekend, when a slew of other high-profile, big-budget releases are set to debut. The R-rated “Dragon Tattoo” may also now be in a closer-than-expected race with Warner Bros.’ sequel “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” for the weekend’s No. 2 spot.

The top ticket seller will probably be “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” which has continued to perform well since opening in limited release last week. The fourth installment in Paramount Pictures’ Tom Cruise action franchise premiered on 425 Imax and other large-format screens Thursday evening but expanded to an additional 2,400 theaters Tuesday night, collecting an additional $2 million.

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Including grosses from the original 425 screens, “Mission’s” total for the day was $3.7 million. Overseas, it has already grossed $85 million in about 40 countries.

The latest “Mission,” which has earned better reviews than most films currently in the marketplace, cost Paramount and co-financier Skydance Productions about $145 million to produce. “Dragon Tattoo” had a budget of about $100 million, said an individual close to the production, although a studio spokesperson insisted the cost was $90 million.

After a lower-than-expected $39.6-million opening last weekend, the “Sherlock Holmes” sequel has done solid business this week. The movie grossed about $5 million Monday and Tuesday, bringing its domestic total to $49.7 million so far.

Meanwhile, the animated 3-D film “The Adventures of Tintin” premieres in U.S. theaters Wednesday, almost two months after it opened. Because the Steven Spielberg-directed film is based on a Belgian comic book popular in Europe, co-financiers Paramount and Sony decided to first open it abroad. The movie, which had a production budget of $150 million to $170 million, has collected more than $240 million overseas to date and has yet to be released in Latin America or Australia.

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Paramount, which is distributing the film in the U.S., is hopeful that “Tintin” will perform as well as or better than “Yogi Bear” last Christmas. That live action-animation hybrid started off slow but ultimately ended up surpassing $100 million at the domestic box office.

amy.kaufman@latimes.com


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