By Bill Wine

PHILDELPHIA (CBS) – Movie sequels dominated at the box office over the weekend.

After three subpar weekends in a row, and with three new sequels in the mix, national box office rebounded, but not to the level expected. Leading the way was the thriller sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, which earned an estimated $40-million in its debut.

Second place went to the new kidflick sequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which took in $23-million. In third was the thriller sequel, Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol, with Tom Cruise, at this point playing only in a modest number of IMAX theaters and soon to expand. It earned $13-million.

All of which left last weekend’s leader — the ensemble comedy, New Year’s Eve — in fourth place with $7-million. The weekend’s fourth new offering, Young Adult, the comedy-drama with Charlize Theron, placed seventh with a total of just under $4-million.

Overall, industry-wide totals were certainly better than they have been in recent weeks, but remained below those of the counterpart weekend last year.

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