Tom Cruise returned with a vengeance as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol grossed a confirmed $69.4m and pushed Paramount Pictures International (PPI) to the brink of $3bn in ticket sales for the year-to-date.

The fourth entry in the action franchise played in 6,088 sites in 42 countries reported. South Korea led a string of number one debuts on $11.1m from 948 venues over four days, followed by Japan on $9m from 343 over three and Russia on $6.1m from 680.

Ghost Protocol scored the biggest launch in history on the UAE on $2.4mn from 27 sites. It launched on $5.2m in France from 616 and topped the charts in Australia on $4.2m from 240. The combined Middle Eastern total amounts to $3.5m for the biggest opening weekend for any film in the region.

There was a notable $4m number one launch in India on $4m from 700 venues, aided by a recent publicity appearance by Cruise and Anil Kapoor, who also stars in the film. The film debuted in Germany on $3.8m from 580 and opened top in Taiwan on $3.2m from 51 venues and did the same in Spain on $2.6m from 383.

Cruise scored career-best launches in Singapore and Malaysia on $1.6m from 26 and $1.5m from 97, respectively. Hong Kong produced a $1.3m number one debut on 90.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the MIGP start internationally,” PPI head Anthony Marcoly said. “The filmmaking team has provided us with an exceptionally playing film that moviegoers around the world are embracing. With two and a half weeks of school holidays still to come, we are positioned extremely well as the must see event over the Christmas season.”

DreamWorks Animation’s Puss In Boots took another giant stride towards the $200m mark as $29.3m through PPI from 6,714 sites propelled the running total to $187.5m. The film opened in Italy on $3.3m from 385, while Germany led holdover business with $4.9m from 693 for $13m. 

In the third weekend in France $3.7m from 1,049 pushed the tally to $19.4m. Puss In Boots stands at $12.2m in Brazil and has reached $10.3m in Mexico after three, $7.7m in Australia and $6.6m in the UK and an excellent $4.7m in Argentina, all after two.

A banner year for PPI has so far produced $2.9bn in overall grosses and a highly placed source at the studio estimated the figure could climb as high as $3.2bn factoring in the holiday season run for Ghost Protocol.

Transformers 3 has grossed $771m in 2011, Kung Fu Panda $501m, Thor $269m, Captain America $192m and Puss In Boots $188m and counting.

  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows launched in six markets through Warner Bros Pictures international and generated a confirmed $14.6m from 1,610 screens. The UK led the way with a $6m number one debut from 1,040 followed by Italy on an outstanding $4.8m number one from 575.

There was a mighty $1.2m number one Swedish launch on 187. The adventure sequel launched in Hong Kong on $1.1m including previews from 79 and arrived in first place in Turkey on an impressive $907,500 from 132. Holland generated $698,000 from 100.

New Year’s Eve added $8.9m from close to 3,200 screens in 42 markets for $27.8m. The rom-com boosted the Australian tally in the second weekend by $1.7m from 336 to $6m and swelled the UK running total by $1.3m from 443 to $4.7m after the same period of time. Germany stands at $3.2m after two.

Happy Feet Two has reached $55.4m, which includes $6.2m from Russia, $5.5m from the UK and $4.3m from Brazil.

  • Fox International reported that Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked launched in 37 markets day-and-date with North America to bring in a confirmed $13.7m from 3,828 screens.

Only six of the markets were top 16 markets and these included $3.7m from the UK from 756 screens for number two and $1.7m from 1,022 in Mexico for number one. The Spanish debut delivered a $1.3m number two finish from 364.

France and Germany receive the family sequel next weekend, followed by Russia, Australia, Italy, Argentina and Brazil during the New Year holiday period.

New Regency’s In Time took another step towards $100m as a $3.4m weekend haul from 1,710 in 26 resulted in $97.4m. The sci-fi thriller arrives in Japan in February.

For the year-to-date, Fox International releases have produced more than $2.07bn, with Rio leading the way on $306.1m, Black Swan on $222.5m, X-Men: First Class on $209m, Gulliver’s Travels on $159m out of a total $196.4m and The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader on $115.7m out of a total $313.8m.

  • Arthur Christmas grossed $9.7m through Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) from 6,745 screens in 62 markets for a relatively early $72.8m running total that pushed the worldwide tally over $110m.

Aardman Animation and Sony Pictures Animation’s family tale added $2.4m in its sixth weekend in the UK for $24.5m and $1.6m in its second session in Russia where the tally climbed to $5.7m. The film stands at $5m in France, $4.5m in Australia, $3.9m in South Korea and $3.1m in Germany.

Russian hit Vysotsky grossed a further $2.7m from 898 in its third weekend for $25.5m, whole Jack And Jill stands at $16.8m and Moneyball has reached $29.4m from 39 markets.

The Adventures Of Tintin grossed $2.7m through SPRI and PPI from 4,720 screens in 34 markets for $239.1m and has grossed $171.7m through SPRI, $54m through PPI and $13.4m through independents.

  • Summit International reported that Breaking Dawn: Part I added $8.1m in the fifth weekend from close to 7,300 theatres in 74 markets for $391.4m. Summit International will not report again until 2012, by which time the film is projected to reach $410m.

This year to-date Summit International releases have grossed $753.7m. The Three Musketeers reached $119.5m and Source Code $86.1m.

  • Universal’s Tower Heist has reached a confirmed $49.2m through UPI and opened at number three in Brazil on $868,000 from 210. The comedy has eight territories to go including Australia on Dec 26.

German rom-com Rubbeldiekatz grossed $2.8m from 542 sites in Germany and Austria. French drama Des Vents Contraires debuted in France on $812,945 from 195 in eighth place. Local Spanish acquisition Fuga De Cerebros 2 (Brain Drain 2) held firm in fourth place on $710,000 from 300 for $6m after three weekends.

A Dangerous Method, which Universal is releasing in four territories, stands at $6.3m. Johnny English Reborn is on $150.3m and Phantom Of The Opera Live At The Royal Albert Hall took $115,000 from 18 venues in South Korea. The running total from Universal’s releases in 19 territories comes to $3.7m.