December 26, 2012



There was plenty under the tree for Hollywood this Christmas DayThe major tinsel came from LES MISERABLES (Universal), which is projected to have an enormous, overperforming $18.2M opening day.  That would be a blockbuster pace if the movie can keep it up (it’s double what Dreamgirls made when it went wide on Christmas Day 2006, although that was in only 852 theatres compared to Les Miz‘s 2808).  However, Broadway musicals, like Twilight movies, come with a very enthusiastic core audience that rush to their favorites on opening day, and the daily number may slide as the week goes on–Dreamgirls was down 45% by the Friday of its opening week.

In its entirely different spectrum of audience appeal, Quentin Tarantino’s DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein/Sony) is also off to a great start, with a $15M Christmas.  That’s better than the opening day for Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino’s biggest hit to date, and with Jack Reacher struggling, Django has the action crowd almost all to itself for the rest of the holiday season.

The third and–by far–least of the day’s arrivals, PARENTAL GUIDANCE (20th), did all right too, earning a projected $6.4M on the holiday.  That’s far better than the $1-2M per day that its perceived competition The Guilt Trip has been making since it opened last week, and suggests a family audience desperate for something, anything new to see.

For holdovers, when Christmas Day last fell on a Tuesday in 2007, the holiday boxoffice was mostly close to the prior Sunday.  That makes the 10% drop for THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) from Sunday to $11.3M somewhat worrisome, as it continues to prove a disappointment compared to its Lord of the Rings forebears.  JACK REACHER (Paramount) and THIS IS 40 (Universal) appear to be closer to the norm with $5.3M and $4.4M, respectively, while THE GUILT TRIP (Paramount) rose about 40% from Sunday, although to a still-lukewarm $2.6M.  However, RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) had a disastrous Christmas Day, possibly because its marketing has been focused so much on its narrow seasonal appeal, dropping more than 40% from Sunday to $1.2M, its hopes of reaching at least $100M fading fast.  CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY (Paramount) started running full performance schedules instead of just 2 shows per day, increasing more than 50% to $1M on Tuesday.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) finally expanded, doubling its run to 745 theatres, and dropping a bit in per-theatre average to $1500 from the $1700 average that it had on Sunday.

In limited release, the per-theatre average for ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony), somewhat surprisingly, dropped about 20% on Christmas Day, perhaps because Les Miz and Django preempted some of its film geek audience.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."