That moment when the box office started handling Angelina Jolie's Oscar campaign http://t.co/fypArwEIgV
— Andrea Mandell (@AndreaMandell) December 26, 2014
The Interview ended a crazy week with gusto, but it's Angelina Jolie who conquered the Christmas Day box office.
The director's wartime drama Unbroken opened strong with $15.6 million Thursday, good enough for the third-best Christmas Day opening of all-time, according to studio estimates from Box Office Mojo. It ranks behind only Sherlock Holmes' $24.6 million in 2009 and Les Misérables' $18.1 million in 2012.
But for the amount of press that The Interview has garnered this week, its $1 million opening is "slightly underwhelming," says Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. "But when you consider that a lot of these theaters were really small, that's a solid number."
Unbroken rallied past mixed reviews and ultimately did well due to a long press campaign from Jolie, great visuals and the inspirational real-life story of Olympian and war hero Louie Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) around Christmas, says Bock.
People are just interested in history these days, adds Dergarabedian. "The greatest generation is at the top of everyone's list this year as far as topics that have become of great interest to movie-goers."
The Disney movie musical Into the Woods was right behind Unbroken with a $15 million opening Thursday — ranking fourth all-time for a Christmas Day opening. Bock feels it will probably win the upcoming weekend and its broad appeal could have life into January. "The longevity factor is definitely something to consider for that."