Universal's Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg, smuggled $24.5 million into the U.S. box office over the weekend and is expected to increase that amount to around $29 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Most box-office pundits had figured it would earn around $20 million. Disney's 3D digital re-release of Beauty and the Beast also had a solid debut, taking in $18.5 million over the three days. But the Queen Latifah/Dolly Parton musical Joyful Noise failed to produce either joy or noise as it opened below forecasts with just $11.3 million. Last week's champ, Paramount Insurge's The Devil Inside , was expected to collapse in its second weekend -- and it did. It dropped 77 percent to $7.9 million over the three days. Meanwhile, the total gross for Paramount's Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol continued to rise like a Dubai burj. With the film earning $11.5 million, the movie has now piled up $186.74 million, and is likely to cross the $200-million mark by next weekend. In its fifth weekend, it was the third-highest earner. Also continuing to perform strongly was Warner Bros.' Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows , which earned $842 million over the weekend, bringing its five-week total to $170 million. Estimated overall revenue for the three-day weekend came to $114.5 -- virtually identical to the same weekend a year ago ($115 million), when The Green Hornet led with $33.5 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. Contraband , $24 million; 2. Beauty and the Beast , $18.5 million; 3. Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol ; 4. Joyful Noise , $11.3 million; 5. Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows , $8.4 million; 6. The Devil Inside , $7.9 million; 7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo , $6.8 million; 8. ALVIN And THE CHIPMUNKS Chipwrecked , $5.8 million; 9. War Horse , $5.6 million; 10. The Iron Lady , $5.3 million.

16/01/2012