Could 'Dragon Tattoo' Flop Doom Film Franchise?

Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" didn't exactly ink the best impression on audiences.

David Fincher's much-anticipated U.S. interpretation of the Swedish hit fell flat in theaters during the holiday weekend, coming in fourth behind "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" (that's gotta hurt).

The movie that cost an estimated $90 million to make earned only $12.75 million between Friday and Sunday. Does that mean Sony might pull the plug on the three-film franchise?

Probably not. Paul Dergarabedian, president of's box office division, blamed a glut of competition for "Dragon Tattoo's" low numbers and said that in the coming weeks, it might "prove itself to be a long-distance runner rather than a sprinter."

"The key will be how it does in the coming weeks," he said. "This weekend will be very curious. There won't be any wide release openers in contest with it."

Since opening day, "Dragon Tattoo" has made a not-so-shabby $27.7 million. And because it opened ahead of schedule, on Tuesday, Dec. 20, it burned off a bit of its core audience by the time Friday rolled around.

Plus, violent anal rape and sadistic murderers don't exactly scream "happy holidays."

"It's decidedly an R-rated movie, it's very intense," Dergarabedian said. "But remember, 'The Exorcist' was released right around Christmas."

Dec. 26, to be exact. So Sony's probably going to sit back and see how "Dragon Tattoo" fares in the bleak (weather and new movie-wise) month of January before making any major decisions.

"I don't think they expected this to open at $50 million but I think they're probably reserving judgment," Dergarabedian said. "If the film is a total loss, they have to decide, 'Do we keep making them or not?'"

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