‘Unbroken,’ ‘Into the Woods’ Earn $15 Million on Christmas Day

by Ray Subers

December 26, 2014

With over $15 million each, Angelina Jolie's Unbroken and Disney musical Into the Woods had a very Merry Christmas at the box office.

Meanwhile, The Gambler and Big Eyes also debuted nationwide, while The Interview (2014) opened in limited release.

The Top 10 earned an estimated $71.2 million, which makes this the biggest Christmas Day since 2009 (when Avatar, Sherlock Holmes and the Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel ruled).

took first place yesterday with an estimated $15.6 million, which ranks third all-time among Christmas Day debuts, behind Sherlock Holmes and Les Miserables. That's pretty remarkable considering the movie lacks any recognizable on-screen talent: credit this to the popularity of Laura Hillenbrand's book, curiosity about Jolie's directing, and the movie's inspirational true story (which appears to have some faith-friendly elements).

This type of Christmas Day opening virtually guarantees $125-million-plus in the long run. It could potentially go quite a bit higher; if Unbroken follows Django Unchained's pattern, it will wind up with over $160 million.

Playing at 2,440 theaters, Into the Woods wasn't far behind with $15.1 million. While that is undeniably a strong result, it is still 17 percent lower than Les Miserables (which opened on Christmas Day two years ago). If Into the Woods follows that movie's trajectory—which was fairly front-loaded—it would fall short of $125 million total. With the movie's more family-friendly content, it's likely that it gets closer to $150 million.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
banked $13.1 million yesterday. That's the second-highest Christmas Day for Peter Jackson's Middle Earth saga behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($14 million). Through nine days, the final chapter in the Hobbit trilogy has taken in $127.1 million.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
added $7.35 million for a new total of $34.9 million. Meanwhile, Annie (2014) grossed $4.6 million on Christmas Day, and finished its first week with $29.2 million.

The Gambler
opened in fifth place with an estimated $5 million. In comparison, fellow Paramount release The Wolf of Wall Street took in $9.15 million on Christmas Day last year. With mixed reviews and zero awards buzz, this is a fine result for The Gambler. In the long run, this will likely wind up in the $40-to-$60 million range.

After nearly a month in limited release, The Imitation Game expanded to 747 theaters and earned an impressive $3.1 million. In comparison, The King's Speech grossed $2.12 million when it expanded nationwide on Christmas Day in 2010.

Big Eyes
was probably the biggest Christmas Day disappointment. Opening at 1,307 locations, the Weinstein Company release earned an estimated $1.4 million. While it's the type of adult-friendly movie that holds well in the long run, it's still looking at a best-case-scenario of $25-to-$30 million.

Playing at 331 theaters, The Interview (2014) took 15th place with an estimated $1.04 million. The movie was also available to rent for $6 on YouTube and Xbox Live.

opened to $322,000 from 19 locations for a very good $16,947 per-theater average. Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood's American Sniper earned $240,000 from four venues, which translates to a stunning $60,000 per-theater average. Selma expands nationwide on January 9th, while Sniper goes wide on January 16th.

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.

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Grosses for Friday, December 25, 2014
2014 Domestic Box Office

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