‘Unbroken’ Flexes Indomitable Strength,
‘Interview’ Eyes $1M – Christmas B.O.
Update, 12:07AM: Word of mouth is on fire: Universal-Legendary’s Unbroken smashed through the onslaught of studio wide releases and holdovers on Christmas day and is looking to take No. 1 with $15.6M according to industry estimates, racing past Disney’s musical Into the Woods, which according to early day estimates was eyeing first. As such, it comes as no surprise to learn that Unbroken earned an A- Cinemascore. Into the Woods, with a B, should land second with an estimated $13.6M while Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will settle for third with $12.7M, a 112% surge over its Christmas Eve low. A very good Christmas indeed with 25 films already expected to gross $75.9M, which is ahead of 2012’s 74.9M, but is just 2% off last Christmas’ $77.3M.
Sony’s hot potato political comedy The Interview is eyeing about $1M from its 331 locations for a $3,000+ per theater. It’s a decent opening day, certainly not as jawdropping as the headlines the film has spurred from Sony hacking to 9/11 threats. Comps are spotty as limited bows in latter December are relegated to award contending titles. Not to mention, if you’re in the right arthouses, you can make $1M+ off of as little as 18 venues. The last political comedy to play the year-end holiday frame was 1997’s Wag the Dog (the film brilliantly pre-dated the 1998 Clinton sex scandal by a matter of months), which in its Jan. 2-4 weekend made $1.12M off 69 locations. It will be interesting to see how high Sony might expand the release. Such political football pics such as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and comedies like Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat have grossed $24-26M bows off engagements in the low 800s.
Unbroken‘s anticipated $30M-plus four day bow couldn’t come at a better time for the Angelina Jolie-directed World War II film as it aims to pique Oscars’ voters before nom ballots are due on . The film was overlooked by the Golden Globes and SAG Awards (except for a stunt ensemble nom), however, the Critics Choice Awards bestowed noms on Unbroken for best pic, director, adapted screenplay and cinematography. Weeks prior to its opening, faith-based film marketers told Deadline that Unbroken was clicking with Christian audiences in a way that Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings was not, giving high praise for Jolie’s finesse in portraying Louis Zamperini’s spiritual side.
If Unbroken and Into the Woods’ opening estimates hold until tomorrow AM, they’ll respectively rank as the third and sixth highest Christmas bows of all-time. The top four currently are Sherlock Holmes ($24.6M), 2o12’s Les Miserables ($18.1M), Django Unchained ($15M) and Marley and Me ($14.4m).
Paramount’s The Gambler earned a C+ Cinemascore and is expected to bring in $4.6M. It’s a bit gritty for holiday crowds, hence the low grade. Paramount bowed the hard R-rated The Wolf of Wall Street last Christmas and wound up with a C Cinemascore and a $116.9M final domestic cume (though many will attribute that to the film’s awards traction, of which The Gambler has yet to notch.
Weinstein Co.’s The Imitation Game clocked into seventh place after its expansion from 34 to 747 theaters. TWC executed a similar rollout for The Imitation Game as The King’s Speech, and the Alan Turing biopic’s Christmas B.O. is 39% higher than that of the King George VI biopic. TWC’s Big Eyes looks to be opening in 11th place with approximately $1.33M off 1,307 runs. The film is just beginning its awards season run at the B.O., powered by Golden Globe music/comedy noms for Amy Adams (best actress) and Christoph Waltz (best actor) as well as a third for Lana Del Rey’s title song “Big Eyes”.
Paramount’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma is looking to post $300K off 19 venues for a per theater of $15,789 while Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper from Warner Bros. made $200K at four theaters for a $50 per screen at the Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles, Northpark in Dallas, the Union Square and Lincoln Square in New York City.
Box Office: ‘The Interview’ Earns Nearly $1 Million on Christmas; ‘Unbroken,’ ‘Into the Woods’ Surging to $40M
Angelina Jolie’s war drama “Unbroken” performed far above forecasts with Christmas Day grosses of about $15 million at 3,131 locations. The tale of war hero Louis Zamperini could wind up hitting above $45 million for the holiday weekend.