Tom Cruise's espionage sequel held its place at number one, while Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked remain at numbers two and three respectively.
War Horse, Steven Spielberg's new drama, climbs three spots to number four with $16.9 million over the New Year weekend.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo completes the top five.
George Clooney's The Descendants re-enters the chart, moving up a place to number ten.
The US top ten in full (studio estimates):
1. (1) Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - $31,250,000
2. (2) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - $22,095,000
3. (3) Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked - $18,250,000
4. (7) War Horse - $16,940,000
5. (4) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - $16,300,000
6. (6) We Bought a Zoo - $14,300,000
7. (5) The Adventures of Tintin - $12,000,000
8. (8) New Year's Eve - $6,710,000
9. (9) The Darkest Hour - $4,300,000
10. (11) The Descendants - $3,650,000
Watch Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol cast interviews below: