Please note that grosses for films from FilmDistrict, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. are still estimates. Actual grosses for such films are expected to be reported on Wednesday, January 2.
Universal's Les Misérables led a very busy day at the Christmas Day box office on Tuesday with an impressive $18.11 million. The theatrical adaptation of the long running musical claimed the second largest opening day gross ever for a film opening on Christmas Day (behind only the $24.61 million launch of 2009's Sherlock Holmes) and the fourth largest Christmas Day gross ever for any film. Les Misérables was helped tremendously on opening day by admissions from online pre-sales and went on to average $6,450 for the day from 2,808 locations. Given the rush out of fans of the musical, there is a strong chance that the initial first few days of the film's run could be very front-loaded towards Tuesday's Christmas Day performance. But Les Misérables will also have a strong chance of holding up well in the bigger picture during the post-holiday season thanks in part to apparently strong word of mouth and continued awards season buzz.
Internationally, Les Misérables has grossed $23.4 million to date, which places the film's early worldwide haul at $41.6 million. The film has grossed $13.2 million in Korea through seven days of release, $7.3 million in Japan through five days and $1.3 million from three days of preview grosses in Australia.
The Weinstein Company's Django Unchained was off to a healthy second place start of $15.01 million. The critically acclaimed Quentin Tarantino directed Western registered the third largest Christmas Day opening ever and the fifth largest Christmas Day performance of any film on record. Without taking into account a decade of ticket price inflation, Django Unchained opened 47 percent stronger than the $10.22 million opening day performance of Ali, back on Christmas Day of 2001 (which also happened to fall on a Tuesday). With the aid of stronger critical acclaim and less Christmas friendly subject matter, Django Unchained will have a good chance of holding up better going forward than Ali did.
After leading the daily box office for the previous eleven days The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey fell to third place on Tuesday with an estimated $11.3 million. However, the Peter Jackson directed fantasy film was up 64 percent over its performance on Christmas Eve and up 44 percent over last Tuesday, as the film is clearly stabilizing now thanks in part to the added help of the holidays. In comparison, 2007's I Am Legend increased 122 percent on Christmas Day to gross $9.78 million, while 2001's The Fellowship of the Ring grossed $11.57 million on Christmas Day after increasing 58 percent. However, it should also be reminded that both Tuesday grosses and Christmas Day grosses trend larger in general now than they did in the past. The Hobbit has grossed $168.3 million in twelve days, placing it 11.5 percent ahead of the $150.95 million twelve-day start of I Am Legend.
Fox's Parental Guidance debuted in fourth with a stronger than expected opening day take of $6.32 million. Just how well the comedy starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler holds up in the next few days will depend in part on the breakdown of its audience. If the film is skewing more towards family audiences, Parental Guidance could turn into quite the surprise hit this weekend. But if it is skewing more towards older adults minus the kids, the film could still prove to be relatively front-loaded toward Christmas Day this week.