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Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. appear in a still from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. - Provided courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment / Daniel Smith

'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' tops weekend box office with $40 million

12/18/2011 by Kristina Lopez

Audiences flocked to the mystery of "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" over the weekend. The film, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, took the top spot at another weak weekend box office with an estimated $40 million.

The sequel's weekend total falls short of the first installment, which opened with $62.3 million just two years ago, according to The Associated Press.

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" has Holmes (Downey Jr.) and Watson (Law) investigating the death of the Crown Prince of Austria and is set for release on December 16. The detective and Watson travel the world to try and stop the evil Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris) and the two team up with a Gypsy named Sim (played by Noomi Rapace). McAdams reprises her role as Holmes' love interest, Irene Adler.

In second place is the weekend's other big release, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked." The family film based on the classic cartoon earned an estimated $23.5 million domestically. That sum also falls short of the $48 million the previous film, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," made in its opening weekend in 2009 and the original film in the franchise, "Alvin and the Chipmunks," which earned $44 million in its first weekend in 2007.

In third place is "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" with Tom Cruise. The film will be officially released in theaters nationwide on December 21, but the IMAX only screenings earned the film a healthy $13 million. The movie already has opened in 36 overseas markets, where it pulled in $68.2 million, putting its global haul at more than $80 million.

Finishing out the top five films at the box office are last week's box office champ "New Year's Eve" and the runner-up "The Sitter." The star-studded "New Year's Eve" earned an additional $7.4 million at the box office, bringing its two-week haul to $24 million.

Jonah Hill's "The Sitter" earned $4.4 million in its second weekend of release, raising its total sum to $17 million.

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