December 27, 2012



Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the multiplex, theater owners were startled to see a lot more empty seats than they had the day before.  Normally the boxoffice is basically stable on the day following Christmas, but this year business declined fairly sharply, and especially for the previous day’s openings.

LES MISERABLES (Universal) was still the number 1 film of the day, but its $12.2M gross was down 33% from Tuesday.  That follows the pattern of Dreamgirls, which opened wide on Christmas and then fell as the week went on (by its first Friday, it was down 45% from opening day), and it remains to be seen whether it will continue that way.  It should be noted that $12M is still a terrific number for a 2 1/2-hour musical that received mixed reviews, and Les Miz still has a chance of topping $100M by New Year’s Day, but it may be more of a hit than a blockbuster.

DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein/Sony) fell similarly, down 33% to $10M on Wednesday.  Again, still performing very strongly, and the question is whether it will keep declining.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE (20th) was also down 32%, to $4.3M, and while it’s still making more than it deserves, it seems to be finding its boxoffice level.

The holdovers were more of a mixed bag.  On the plus side, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) was essentially even for the day with $11.4M, a very good result on a day when most pictures were falling, and the first sign that positive word of mouth may be kicking in.  JACK REACHER (Paramount) and THIS IS 40 (Universal), though, continue to disappoint, down 30% and 24% respectively to $3.8M and $3.3M.  Both look to end up in the $60-70M range, not much for major year-end releases.  THE GUILT TRIP (Paramount) fell by a third after Christmas, back to $1.8M, and not much more than $35M by the time it’s done. LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) was more stable, down only about 5% to $2.1M, and the family duo of RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) and MONSTERS INC (Disney/Pixar) actually rose by around 10%, to $1.6M and $1.4M respectively.

Oscar hopefuls felt the pinch as well, with SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) down 20% from Christmas Day, ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony) off 22%, and THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit/Lionsgate) hit by a heavy 38% drop.

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."