December 27, 2012


The weekend after Christmas offers three new films that opened Tuesday the 25th and a critical darling that went semi-wide on that day.  Les Miserables and Django Unchained are turning around the 2012 holiday season, while the other two new films are making little impact.

Now playing at 2,808 theaters, Les Miserables from Universal opened with $18.1 million Tuesday and should take in over $50 million in the traditional Friday-Sunday period, averaging $17,900 per theater for the weekend.  [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,300 per theater.]  Critics are moderately positive (the film has a 73% positive rating at RottenTomatoes) — read Mitch Salem’s recommendation here.  But the wide fanbase for this musical should keep the film going.  Les Miserables should total almost $100 million through Sunday and should finish with $230 million domestic.

Now playing at 3,010 theaters, Django Unchained from Weinstein Company and writer-director Quentin Tarantino opened with $15 million Tuesday and should gross $40 million this weekend, averaging $13,500 per theater.  Critics are very positive (currently 89% positive rating at RottenTomatoes) — read Mitch Salem’s take here.  Django Unchained should total about $80 million through Sunday and should end up with $195 million domestic.

Now playing at 3,558 theaters, Parental Guidance from 2oth Century Fox opened with $6.3 million Tuesday and should gross about $13 million this weekend, averaging only $3,700 per theater Friday-Sunday.  Critics think its sucks (18% positive for a Billy Crystal-Bette Midler combination — unbelievable).  Mitch Salem joins the critical drubbing of the film here.  The film should total about $29 million through Sunday and struggle to get to $60 million domestic.

Expanding to 745 theaters Tuesday, Silver Linings Playbook from Weinstein Company should average a weak $4,000 per theater (for a $3 million Friday-Sunday).  Critics love it (over 90% positive), but mass audiences don’t know what to make of it.  Only $1 million Christmas Day.  Silver Linings Playbook will keep playing because of award nominations and critical support, but it struggle to break out.  The film should total $26 million through Sunday and will fight to get to $65 million domestic with the help of nominations.


December 28-30, 2012

Critics Positive ($ millions)
Tue Dec 25 actual Wed Dec 26 est Thu Dec 27 est Opening Weekend Forecast Domestic Total Projection
Les Miserables Uni PG13 73% 18.1 15 16 50.5 230
Django Unchained Weins R 89% 15.0 11 13 40.5 195
Parental Guidance Fox PG 18% 6.3 4 5 13.0 60
Silver Linings Playbook Weins R 91% 1.1 1 1 3.0 65

Note: Although critic reviews are not related to the size of the opening weekend, they are significantly correlated with the size of the declines in the opening weeks of a movie.

* The Domestic Total is a very early ShowBuzzDaily projection of the total North American gross, based on the Weekend Forecasts.


Some unusual weekend-to-weekend plus signs because of the heavy business between Christmas and New Year’s Day.


December 28-30, 2012

 Change vs Last Weekend ($ millions)
Weekend Forecast Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey WB -13% 32.3 285
Jack Reacher Par -15% 13.3 90
This Is 40 Uni +10% 12.7 75
Lincoln Dis +18% 6.5 145
Monsters, Inc. 3D Dis +26% 6.0 60
The Guilt Trip Par +8% 5.8 50
Rise of the Guardians Par/DW -20% 4.7 105
Skyfall Sony -31% 4.5 290
Life of Pi Fox +7% 4.3 95


Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in this comparable weekend have averaged $157 million total, ranking 10th of 52 weeks.  Last year, this weekend’s total was $140 million (while 2010’s comparable weekend was $149 million).  This Friday-Sunday is looking like $152 million, down a small 3% from the average comparable weekend over the past four years but up 9% from the same weekend last year.   


This Weekend Last Two Years

no releases in comparable weekends last two years


Check back throughout the week and weekend for box office updates as the actual numbers come in.


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.