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Christmas Moviegoers Soak Up Les Miz and DJango

It may be Christmas Day quiet in the malls but it’s busy, busy, busy in the multiplexes around the U.S. and Canada. My sources say this turned into a supersized Christmas Day for domestic filmgoing. That’s a great year-end gift for Hollywood after keeping the budgets of these debut movies minimal. Audiences repaid the favor by giving all three new wide releases movies no less than ‘A-’ scores to help their word of mouth. Leading the pack is Working Title/Universal’s Les Misérables debuting #1 in 2,808 theaters and receiving a coveted ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences. The musical lived up to both Fandango’s and MovieTickets’ reports of huge advance online sales. (It was the #1 advance ticket-seller among all Christmas Day releases, surpassing previous record-holder Sherlock Holmes in 2009.) The studio was hoping Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the world-reknown musical would open to $10+M. Well, my insiders say today’s grosses looked like a big $15M to $20M — now more like $18M — for the PG13 film that runs 2 hours and 37 minutes and stars Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe. (Speaking of the latter, may I never again have to hear Crowe sing like a cat being strangled. I hope he lip-syncs in that rock band of his…) Of course, Christmas Day tends to have higher mix of presales, especially for the openers, so these numbers could change a lot by Wednesday and Thursday. But as one studio exec analyzes, “Christmas Day has very unique play patterns by genre, region of the country, ethnicity, and target demo. You won’t really know where films are headed until Friday. But that’s a fantastic number for Les Miz.”

Comfortably in #2 is Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained from The Weinstein Company/Sony Pictures which is clearly profiting from the shock value of all its N-word awareness and violence controversy. Not only did it overperform but it is gaining as the night goes on from the $14M first thought. Doing $15.5M today is gigantic for the R-rated movie playing in 3,010 theaters and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx. Pic received an ‘A-’ CinemaScore and supposedly set a new record for an R-rated Christmas Day opening…

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