"Les Miserables", "Django Unchained" set to beat box office expectations

Studio executives aren't celebrating just yet, however, as Christmas week has "very unique play patterns"

Published December 26, 2012 2:00PM (EST)

Although holiday spending has been sluggish this year, the turnout for movies is up--at least on Christmas Day. "Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained" debuted across America yesterday and, based on projections, are exceeding opening day expectations.

"Les Miserables," which opened in 2,808 theaters, is now the #1 advance ticket-seller among all Christmas Day releases. Universal was hoping to make at least $10 million its opening day, but according to Deadline, the Tim Hooper adaptation's projected earnings from yesterday will exceed that by about $8 million. However, sales could decline by Wednesday or Thursday, with one studio exec noting that “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.”

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" is also set to surpass its target through the weekend, grossing around $14 million just on opening day. The grisly slavery-era Western broke the record for the top opening for an R-rated film on Christmas Day, set by "Ali" in 2002 at $10 million.

Christmas Day's third new release, "Parental Guidance" starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei, placed at the No. 4 spot earning between $6 million to $7 million, below Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit."

CinemaScore pollers, widely considered as the box office barometer, reviewed all three openers favorably. "Les Miserables" earned an A rating from viewers, while "Django" and "Parental Guidance" scored A-.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Box Office Christmas Django Unchained Film Les Miserables Movies