'Unbroken' Surprises with $15.59M on Christmas Day; 'Into the Woods' a Strong Second with $15.08M; 'The Battle of the Five Armies' Holds Up Well with $13.14MDecember 26, 2014 10:40 AM

by Daniel Garris

Universal's Unbroken debuted in first place on Christmas Day with a stronger than expected estimated opening day take of $15.59 million (which included an estimated $850,000 from Christmas Eve shows). The Angelina Jolie directed war drama proved to be critic proof on Christmas Day, as mixed critical reviews clearly didn't hamper the film out of the gates. Unbroken appears to have been aided greatly by the pre-existing fanbase of the Laura Hillenbrand written book. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Unbroken delivered the third largest Christmas Day debut of all-time, behind only 2009's Sherlock Holmes and 2012's Les Misérables. Unbroken opened an impressive 4 percent ahead of the $15.01 million opening day take of 2012's Django Unchained. The film received an A- rating on CinemaScore, which suggests the film is going over significantly better with moviegoers than it has with critics.

Disney's Into the Woods opened in a very close second with an estimated $15.08 million (which included an an estimated $1.1 million from Christmas Eve shows). The opening day performance of the Rob Marshall directed musical was especially impressive given that the film opened in a relatively modest 2,440 locations. That gave Into the Woods a per-location average of $6,182 for the day. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Into the Woods claimed the fourth largest Christmas Day debut ever. Into the Woods opened 17 percent below the $18.11 million Christmas Day debut of Les Misérables and may prove to be less initially front-loaded than that film was due in part to being more family friendly. Into the Woods received a modest B rating on CinemaScore.

Although Warner's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies slid to third on Thursday with an estimated $13.14 million, the third and final chapter of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy was up a very healthy 118 percent over Wednesday. The sizable percentage increase of The Battle of the Five Armies strongly suggests that Christmas Day grosses in general may have been even more inflated than usual, which has been a growing trend in recent years. The Battle of the Five Armies was the week's top film with a seven-day take of $92.69 million and has grossed $127.10 million in nine days. That places it 9 percent ahead of the $116.94 million nine-day take of last year's The Desolation of Smaug and 7.5 percent behind the $137.39 million nine-day gross of 2012's An Unexpected JourneyThe Battle of the Five Armies is still likely to lead over the weekend given that its Christmas Day performance was within shouting distance of both Unbroken and Into the Woods.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb placed in fourth with an estimated $7.35 million. The third installment of the Ben Stiller led franchise from Fox was up a very strong 164 percent over Wednesday. After a slower than expected start over the weekend, Secret of the Tomb has held up quite nicely during the holiday aided midweek. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb placed in second for the week with a seven-day start of $34.78 million.

Paramount's The Gambler rounded out Thursday's top five with an estimated $5.0 million opening day take. That represented a solid start for the modestly budgeted drama starring Mark Wahlberg, especially since the decision to initially release the film wide was fairly last minute. One potentially troubling early sign for The Gambler is its lackluster C+ rating on CinemaScore.

Annie rounded out its first week of release with an estimated sixth place take of $4.6 million. Sony's musical remake increased 127 percent over Wednesday. Annie held up well on Thursday, especially given the new direct competition from Into the Woods. Annie placed in third for the week with a seven-day start of $29.24 million.

The Weinstein Company's The Imitation Game had a very successful expansion on Christmas Day as the awards season hopeful placed in seventh with an estimated $3.08 million from 747 locations. The Imitation Game has grossed $6.70 million to date and looks to have a very lengthy box office run ahead of it.

Other estimated opening day performances on Christmas included $1.42 million for The Weinstein Company's Big Eyes from 1,307 locations, $1.04 million for Sony's much buzzed about The Interview from 331 locations, $322,000 for Paramount's Selma from 19 locations and a promising $240,000 for Warner's American Sniper from just 4 locations.

Weekend Actuals (Domestic) Fri, Dec. 27 - Sun, Dec. 29

Wide (1000+)

1The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug$29,031,732-8%3,9280$7,391$189,501,2783Warner Bros. / New Line
2Frozen (2013)$28,596,31946%3,335-205$8,575$248,117,7956Disney
3Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues$19,662,532-25%3,5070$5,607$83,179,5502Paramount
4American Hustle$18,718,811-2%2,5070$7,467$59,169,1643Sony / Columbia
5The Wolf of Wall Street$18,361,578--2,537--$7,238$34,153,1371Paramount
6Saving Mr. Banks$13,453,53344%2,1100$6,376$37,276,1503Disney
7The Secret Life of Walter Mitty$12,765,508--2,909--$4,388$25,360,4681Fox
8The Hunger Games: Catching Fire$10,061,47915%2,315-634$4,346$390,985,3226Lionsgate
947 Ronin$9,910,310--2,689--$3,686$20,612,5301Universal
10Walking With Dinosaurs$7,276,1723%3,24312$2,244$20,944,4782Fox
11Grudge Match$7,021,993--2,838--$2,474$13,140,2151Warner Bros.
12Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas$6,887,194-18%1,788-406$3,852$43,206,2703Lionsgate
13Justin Bieber's Believe$2,007,567--1,037--$1,936$4,270,0671Open Road

Limited (100 — 999)

1Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom$2,240,7457566%975971$2,298$4,550,2135Weinstein Company
2Philomena$1,767,56046%727-11$2,431$16,444,9836Weinstein Company
3Inside Llewyn Davis$1,248,95815%16113$7,758$4,619,6734CBS Films
4Dhoom 3$1,068,141-69%220-19$4,855$6,817,7732Yash Raj Films
5Nebraska$737,73131%250-60$2,951$5,711,5367Paramount Vantage
6Thor: The Dark World$636,073-53%319-797$1,994$202,363,6108Disney
7The Book Thief$614,094-18%481-199$1,277$17,884,5868Fox
8Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2$509,53472%303-10$1,682$116,601,84714Sony / Columbia
9Gravity$508,15018%175-127$2,904$254,593,55413Warner Bros.
1012 Years a Slave$372,9791%154-147$2,422$37,798,96311Fox Searchlight
11Dallas Buyers Club$278,692-27%124-206$2,248$15,730,4889Focus
12Ender's Game$270,481155%24962$1,086$61,170,5079Lionsgate / Summit
13Last Vegas$253,2401%221-112$1,146$62,693,0019CBS Films
14Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa$233,96021%257-21$910$101,263,07110Paramount
15Free Birds$226,884231%24359$934$54,434,9069Relativity Media
16The Best Man Holiday$216,680-45%120-231$1,806$70,249,9507Universal
17Captain Phillips$140,7990%111-61$1,268$104,568,72312Sony / Columbia
18Despicable Me 2$128,68531%165-32$780$367,736,34526Universal
19Delivery Man$119,803-75%136-527$881$29,647,3986Disney / DreamWorks
20Escape Plan$68,7577%107-31$643$24,956,83811Lionsgate / Summit
21Out of the Furnace$41,037-87%102-626$402$11,121,7884Relativity Media

Platform (1 — 99)

1Her (2013)$649,673150%4741$13,823$1,541,9942Warner Bros.
2August: Osage County$179,302--5--$35,860$179,3021Weinstein Company
3Hubble 3D$172,788316%10-2$17,279$41,870,622198Warner Bros. / IMAX
4Lone Survivor$90,872--2--$45,436$153,8391Universal
5The Great Beauty$70,1292%420$1,670$786,8607Janus Films
6All Is Lost$64,61133%67-16$964$5,947,56111Roadside Attractions
7Homefront$64,480-88%75-600$860$20,097,9285Open Road
8Personal Tailor$54,730-51%90$6,081$257,4522China Lion Film
9The Past$34,17417%52$6,835$88,1782Sony Pictures Classics
10The Invisible Woman$31,948--3--$10,649$53,0641Sony Pictures Classics
11Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters$26,103-3%53-32$493$68,470,83021Fox
12Blue Is the Warmest Color$25,705-18%24-7$1,071$2,013,86810IFC Films
13Enough Said$24,039-1%27-15$890$17,454,74615Fox Searchlight
14Lee Daniels' The Butler$23,34251%34-9$687$116,170,29720Weinstein Company
15Kill Your Darlings$21,95811%288$784$950,00911Sony Pictures Classics
16Blue Jasmine$21,305-5%23-3$926$33,010,93123Sony Pictures Classics
17Journey to the South Pacific$19,598296%30$6,533$54,8835IMAX / MacGillivray Freeman
18The Saratov Approach$17,35356%14-6$1,240$1,524,25012Purdie Distribution
19Space Station 3D$16,079-45%3-3$5,360$89,685,171611IMAX
20Black Nativity$11,944-66%24-39$498$7,000,8565Fox Searchlight
21The Christmas Candle$10,916-69%16-51$682$2,247,7717EchoLight Studios
22To the Arctic 3D$9,730211%80$1,216$13,725,14289Warner Bros. / IMAX
23The Armstrong Lie$7,970-2%14-2$569$331,7948Sony Pictures Classics
24Deep Sea 3D$7,542217%1-1$7,542$46,014,615409Warner Bros. / IMAX
25Under the Sea 3D$7,178161%3-2$2,393$33,698,877255Warner Bros. / IMAX
26Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?$7,17781%135$552$123,3576IFC Films
27Wadjda$7,13013%161$446$1,394,99016Sony Pictures Classics
28The Counselor$6,106-1%240$254$16,949,81410Fox
29Bettie Page Reveals All$5,640--5--$1,128$73,3726Music Box Films
30Oldboy (2013)$4,921123%210$234$2,189,1825FilmDistrict
3120 Feet from Stardom$4,86967%8-2$609$4,814,54329RADiUS-TWC
32The Family (2013)$4,444-12%290$153$36,910,65616Relativity Media
33Don Jon$4,060-66%31-1$131$24,468,31414Relativity Media
34Born to Be Wild 3D$3,7873165%40$947$23,117,555143Warner Bros. / IMAX
35The Punk Singer$3,592-7%10-5$359$108,2895IFC Films
36I Am Divine$2,796--4--$699$60,00312The Film Collaborative
37Muscle Shoals$2,4486%7-2$350$666,86214Magnolia Pictures
38Austenland$2,351168%50$470$2,155,33420Sony Pictures Classics
39Maidentrip$1,80411%10$1,804$4,2162First Run Features
40Inequality for All$1,349283%1-1$1,349$1,192,34114RADiUS-TWC
41The Selfish Giant$1,288-50%31$429$6,1642IFC Films
42The Act of Killing$1,1135%20$557$459,06124Drafthouse Films
43Here Comes the Devil$60436%21$302$2,6983Magnolia / Magnet
44The Last Days on Mars$49865%10$498$22,3144Magnolia / Magnet