Animals hit big at the box office this holiday

In just two days, Disney-DreamWorks’ Christmas Day entry “War Horse” managed to nearly eclipse four-day weekend tallies for both Paramount’s “The Adventures of Tintin” and Fox’s “We Bought a Zoo.”

“War Horse” collected $14.5 million through Dec. 26, while “Zoo” grossed $14.6 million from Dec. 23-26 and “Tintin” $15.1 million.

Disney attributes the fantastic start for “War Horse” to the pic’s broad swath of interest, from coastal auds to the heartland. In fact, the film’s second-best theater overall came in at Moore, Okla. (L.A.’s Arclight Sherman Oaks ranked No. 1.)

“You expect the film to play well in middle-America,” notes Disney distribution exec Dave Hollis. “You just don’t bank on it.”

“War Horse” also attracted a healthy mix of older and younger filmgoers in its opening days; auds over 25 contributed 56% of the gross which, according to Hollis was not unexpected.

Families contributed just 26% of the pic’s opening-day total, while couples comprised about two-thirds of the audience. The Mouse expects more families will turn out over the next few weeks, especially since most kids and parents are home for the holidays. As of Dec. 27, “War Horse” has cumed $18.7 million domestically.

“With films that are in the awards conversation, this is the kind of start you hope for,” Hollis says.

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