Holiday Box Office Update: 'Les Miserables' and 'Django Unchained' Start Strong

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Universal Pictures

Who says Christmas is about staying warm by the fire and exchanging gifts with your loved ones? Everyone knows that the holidays are all about movies! A depressing musical adaptation of a Victor Hugo novel and an ultra-violent revenge fantasy may not sound like Christmas material, but the opening days of 'Les Miserables' and 'Django Unchained' prove otherwise.

Both films went head-to-head to win the coveted Christmas Day audience and both ended doing quite well for themselves, but 'Les Miserables's PG-13 rating definitely gave it an edge. Tom Hooper's adaptation of the beloved musical grossed $17.5 million on its opening day, a step above industry expectations and evidence that the film's loyal fanbase definitely turned out in full force. The film wasn't cheap though, so it's going to need legs to survive...a lot to ask of a film that's three hours long, incredibly sad and a musical.

Second place for the day went to Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained,' which opened to $14 million. Not bad at all for a three hour, racially charged revenge epic from a frequently controversial director. Like 'Les Miserables,' it'll need endurance to keep going, but 'Inglourious Basterds' (which was made from the same mold) grossed $120 million three years ago. 'Django Unchained' may do similar numbers if audiences respond.

In third place, 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' scooped up another $10.8 million, setting itself up for a solid third week.

And in fourth place, 'Parental Guidance' (which our own Jordan Hoffman declared the worst film of the year) earned somewhere in the range of $6-7 million. That's not a necessarily strong opening, but it's definitely something for a film with such toxic buzz.

We'll see how these openings factor into the weekend grosses when the regular box office column returns in a few days!

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