Tom Cruise back on top of the box office as 'Mission: Impossible' wins Christmas weekend

mission-impossible-ghost-protocol3.jpgFor the first time in five years, Tom Cruise is headlining the No. 1 movie in America at the box office.

"Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" took in an estimated $46.2 million over the long four-day weekend, giving Cruise his first starring vehicle to top the charts since "Mission: Impossible III" opened in 2006. ( "Tropic Thunder" opened at No. 1 in 2008, but he had only a small part in the movie.)

"M:I-4" has now made about $78.65 million over two weekends of release in the United States, plus more $150 million overseas.

After getting off to a soft start on Friday and Saturday, receipts surged on Christmas day and into Monday (Dec. 26). Among the beneficiaries of the uptick was Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," which made an estimated $7.5 million in its Sunday opening and is set to take in $15 million through Monday. That's well ahead of projections.

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was the best of the weekend's new releases, taking in $19.4 million from Friday to Monday. The movie, which opened Wednesday, has made $27.7 million total. "The Adventures of Tintin" ($16.1 million) and "We Bought a Zoo" ($15.6 million) had OK four-day starts.

In limited release, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" made $136,000 in just six theaters over its first two days, while the Angelina Jolie-directed "In the Land of Blood and Honey" earned about $28,000 over four days in three theaters.

The weekend's Top 10 movies (Friday to Monday grosses):

1. "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol," $46.2 million
2. "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," $31.8 million
3. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," $20 million
4. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," $19.4 million
5. "The Adventures of Tintin," $16.1 million
6. "We Bought a Zoo," $15.6 million
7. "War Horse," $15 million
8. "The Darkest Hour," $5.5 million
9. "New Year's Eve," $4.95 million
10. "The Muppets," $3.35 million
Photo/Video credit: Paramount