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4th 'Mission Impossible' tops holiday box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Tom Cruise's latest mission has won a holiday weekend that's shaping up with some silent nights at movie theaters as business continues to lag.

Studio estimates Sunday placed Cruise's "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" a solid No. 1 with $26.5 million domestically over its first weekend in full release. The movie raised its total to $59 million since it started a week earlier in huge-screen cinemas and expanded nationwide Wednesday, and distributor Paramount estimated that revenues will reach $72.7 million by today.

Cruise's fourth "Mission" flick was a bright spot over a Christmas weekend filled with so-so tidings for Hollywood, whose usually busy holiday stretch since Thanksgiving has been a bust.

Robert Downey's "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" fell from No. 1 to No. 2 in its second weekend with $17.8 million. The family sequel "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" dropped from second to third with $13.3 million.

The weekend's newcomers failed to light up the box office, too. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" from Sony was No. 4 with $13 million, "The Adventures of Tintin" from Paramount was No. 5 with $9.1 million, and "We Bought a Zoo" from 20th Century Fox was No. 6 with $7.8 million.


AT&T Qualcomm deal OK'd

AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone company, won approval from federal regulators for its $1.93 billion purchase of Qualcomm Inc. airwaves three days after dropping its plan to buy T-Mobile USA Inc.

The sale of frequencies covering 300 million people was cleared on Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission said in an order published on its website. AT&T can't use the airwaves in a way that interferes with other wireless carriers, the agency said.

Given the conditions imposed, the proposed deal "would not result in competitive harm that would outweigh the public-interest benefits of this transaction," the FCC said in the order. The agency said the deal would support "our goal of expanding mobile broadband deployment throughout the country."

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recommended on Nov. 22 that fellow commissioners approve the airwaves sale. On the same day, he moved to oppose AT&T's proposed merger with smaller wireless competitor T-Mobile. AT&T abandoned on Dec. 19 the T-Mobile purchase designed to increase its airwaves holdings.

AT&T plans to use the new spectrum to help increase speed of mobile devices as users demand more bandwidth, especially for video and games.

-- Bloomberg News


Connecticut goes solar

Connecticut selected two 5-megawatt solar projects to sell electricity for 20 years to Northeast Utilities and United Illuminating Co.

The average cost of electricity from projects that will be built in the municipalities of East Lyme and Somers will be 22.2 cents a kilowatt-hour, the state's Department of Energy & Environmental Protection said.

"We believe the installed costs of these two solar projects are among the lowest offered by any comparable solar projects in the nation," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in the statement.

The agency asked developers to submit proposals for as much as 10 megawatts of renewable energy plants and evaluated 21 projects that totaled 70 megawatts. It considered only technologies that don't emit carbon dioxide such as solar, wind, tidal and low-impact hydropower.

-- Bloomberg News


Business this week

Business events scheduled for this week:

Today: Christmas Day is observed. Stock and bond markets are closed.

Tuesday: Standard & Poor's releases S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for October, 9 a.m.

The Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for December, 10 a.m.

Thursday: Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, 8:30 a.m.; Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, releases weekly mortgage rates, 10 a.m.; National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for November, 10 a.m.