Get ready, folks. This weekend, the great Sherlock Holmes takes on one of his greatest challenges ever: three tiny chipmunks. Both 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' and 'Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked' open nationwide on Friday, though if intellectual Englishmen or small squirrels aren't up your alley, there's always 'New Year's Eve' (joking -- kind of) and a bevy of limited releases. To help you swift through this week's newest films, check out Moviefone's Weekend Movie Preview ahead.

NATIONWIDE RELEASES

'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows'
What's the story: The sequel to the 2009 blockbuster sees Robert Downey Jr. return as the always-brilliant-yet-slightly-neurotic Sherlock Holmes. This time around, he and his trusty sidekick, Watson (Jude Law), will face off against Holmes' greatest nemesis -- the evil Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) -- who is behind a spate of mysterious bombings.

Box office projection: The first movie made big bucks its opening weekend, grossing more than $60 million (on its way to over a half-billion ticket sales worldwide). Under normal circumstances, the sequel to a box office hit would be an even bigger success -- especially since its opening against the family friendly 'Chipmunks' -- but since movie groses last week were shockingly low, who knows how audiences will respond to 'Sherlock.' $56 million



[Showtimes & Tickets]



'Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked'
What's the story: Another sequel! Don't worry, this isn't called 'Squeakuel' like the last 'Chipmunks' movie, but that doesn't mean you're going to escape the animal puns. In 'Chipwrecked' (groan), David (Jason Lee) and the crew (the Chipmunks and the Chippettes) go on a holiday cruise that gets your favorite furry animated critters stranded on a desert island. Singing lots of pop songs in extremely high registers will occur.

Box off prediction: Just like 'Game of Shadows,' 'Chipwrecked' is the sequel to another box office smash: the last two 'Chipmunk' flicks each grossed around $45 million opening weekend. Does that mean the third film in the franchise will be a hit? Considering the lack of family competition it faces this weekend, it's likely: $30 million



[Showtimes & Tickets]



LIMITED RELEASES

Two buzzed-about films get limited engagements this week. First up is Roman Polanski's 'Carnage,' based on the play 'God of Carnage.' The movie follows two pairs of parents whose sons have gotten into a fight. Attempting to settle their differences the "adult way," the couples end up bickering and fighting (performances from stars Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet have already been nominated for Golden Globes). Also out is 'Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel,' a documentary on the filmmaker Roger Corman, who's credited with mentoring esteemed filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Expanding to more theaters is 'Young Adult,' the Diablo Cody-written caustic comedy featuring Charlize Theron.

[Photo: Warner Bros.]



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