The heavily touted sequel to 2009 adventure flick Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as the detective and his partner Watson stalled at the box-office this weekend. The weak takings were indicative of a box-office slump in recent months, and Hollywood bosses are fearful there won't be much to celebrate over Christmas.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Guy Ritchie directed 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows', got off to a disappointing start and took far fewer tickets than pre-release audience surveys had projected. The movie, featuring a swash-buckling and eccentric Sherlock, took the top-spot but brought in just $40 million domestically - $15 million short of the amount estimated by studio Warner Bros. It was no better for second-place Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked' - which grossed a weak $22.5 million after seemingly failing to pull in the festive family crowds. Studios are hoping that this week's Christmas weekend will claw back some of the lost ticket sales, with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, We Bought a Zoo, The Adventures of Tintin and Steven Spielberg's War Horse all opening nationwide. However, Sherlock Holmes was expected to gross more than any other flick in December 2011, a prediction that now appears incredibly unlikely.
'A Game of Shadows' saw lead actor Downey Jr team up with his wife Susan, who worked as a producer. During a recent interview with the Press Association, the actor explained, "The Mrs and I, we're buddies. We'd rather work together than not work together.But when you're married to someone who's central on a production, you have to make sure that anyone who's part of that experience doesn't wish that the two of you would stop working together immediately". The actor has been praised for his unique portrayal of the detective, with critic Betsy Sharkey saying, "As Johnny Depp has done so brilliantly with his devilish Jack Sparrow, Downey has made this sly sardonic Sherlock stylistically all his own. Case closed".