Christmas Day saw a big boost at the box office after a relatively slow weekend as two anticipated films opened bigger than expected.
Tom Hooper’s musical Les Misérables, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, took the top spot with an estimated $18.2 million, the second-largest Christmas Day opening, while Quentin Tarantino’s Western Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, took second place with $15 million. That would make it the third-biggest Christmas Day opening ever.
Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was knocked out of the first place position where it’s comfortably been sitting since opening on December 14. It brought in $11.3 million on Christmas Day, its biggest weekday gross since opening, but still less than the Christmas Day take of all three “Lord of the Rings” movies.
The PG family comedy conveniently called Parental Guidance, marking the return of Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, opened in fourth place on Christmas Day with roughly $6.5 million.
Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher took fifth place with $5.2 million, which is more than its opening day estimate for last Friday.
Despite the big business shown by the new and returning movies, it’s hard to see it setting a new Christmas Day record at the box office because it will be difficult to beat December 25, 2009, when Sherlock Holmes opened with $24.6 million followed by James Cameron’s Avatar with $23.1 million.