Christmas Day Box Office: “Les Mis,” “Django” Opens Big

By Kirsten Anderson Uncategorized

They sang, they died, the audience cried.

With movies opening all different days over the past week–last Wednesday, Friday, Tuesday–it’s impossible to do a really comparative box office report for the whole weekend. For the standard three day weekend, we know that “The Hobbit” ($36.9 million) handily beat out new releases “Jack Reacher” ($15.6 million) and “This is 40″ ($12 million), but yesterday was the day that Hollywood really was watching, with some big movies opening on a traditionally busy moviegoing day. So we bring you a special look at one day–the Christmas Day box office report.

Here are the numbers (courtesy of Deadline):

1. Les Misérables (Working Title/Universal) NEW [Runs 2,808]
Christmas Day $18.0M

2. Django Unchained (Sony/Weinstein) NEW [Runs 3,010]
Christmas Day $15.5M

3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (MGM/WB) Week 2 [Runs 4,100]
Christmas Day $10.8M, Cume $167.9M

4. Parental Guidance (Chernin/Fox) NEW [Runs 3,358]
Christmas Day $7.0M

5. Jack Reacher (Skydance/Paramount) Week 1 [Runs 3,352]
Christmas  Day $5.1M, Cume $22.9M

6. This Is 40 (Universal) Week 1 [Runs 2,913]
Christmas Day $4.3M, Cume $17.3M

7. Lincoln (DreamWorks/Fox/Disney) Week 7 [Runs 1,966]
Christmas Day $2.4M, Cume $120.3M

8. The Guilt Trip (Skydance.Paramount) Week 1 [Runs 2,431]
Christmas Day $2.3M, Cume $10.9M

9. Monsters Inc 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 1 [Runs 2,618]
Christmas Day $1.2M, Cume $8.3M

The movies that opened yesterday were well-received by audiences: “Les Mis” got an A CinemaScore, “Django Unchained” got an A-, and even “Parental Guidance” got an A- (audiences must have been filled with Christmas spirit for that one). You knew that “Les Mis” was going to be popular, considering how many people have seen the stage show, so it’s not surprise that that is exceeding the $10-15 million projections for it (who projected that? someone who doesn’t know any musical theater geeks?). I think it’s a surprise how well “Django Unchained” did, though. While there’s a lot of love for Tarantino, and certainly a fair amount of people who are running in the other direction from “Les Mis” (like the person who did those “Les Mis” projections), it doesn’t exactly deal with Christmas-y material (a slavery revenge pic) and an R-rating on a day usually associated with family activities is a mighty hurdle to overcome. I think this speaks a lot to how popular “Inglourious Basterds” was, or how it has won over non-Tarantino audiences in the years since it was released; that movie kind of primed audiences for “Django,” I think. And to be honest, while Jamie Foxx is a good name to have in your movie, I’m guessing it didn’t hurt to have DiCaprio’s name on the poster either.

So what will happen this weekend when all these mighty forces clash over three days? Do any newcomers dare to enter the fold? Well, no, not really, other than “Promised Land” opening in a few theaters to make the Oscar consideration deadline. No, it looks like we’ll have a real standoff this weekend between “Django,” “Les Mis,” and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in week three of its release. Put your money on the one with all the singing. And I don’t mean dwarves singing.


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