'Django,' 'Les Miserables' vie for second, third; holiday weekend totals surpass $180 mil

A three-way horse race among “The Hobbit,” “Django Unchained” and “Les Miserables” kept the moviegoing biz singing this weekend, as totals at north of $180 million helped 2012 become a record-setting year at the domestic box office.

Yearly totals should reach roughly $10.8 billion through Monday, up 2% over the $10.6 billion domestic record set in 2009. Admissions are estimated to finish 6% ahead of last year. Final B.O. numbers will be available later this week, along with a revised admissions tally.

This weekend, Warner Bros.’ “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” managed to stay on top in its third frame with an estimated $32.9 million, down just 11%, for a domestic cume of $222.7 million. Pic’s already cumed almost $700 million worldwide, of which Imax alone has contributed $50 million.

Meanwhile, the Weinstein Co.’s Quentin Tarantino pic “Django” surpassed Universal’s “Les Mis,” grossing $30.7 million vs. the tuner’s estimated $28 million Friday-Saturday take. “Les Mis” still has an edge cumulatively, however, thanks to its record-setting Christmas Day start, with $67.5 million domestically. “Django” has cumed $64 million Stateside.

Other pics overperforming included Fox’s family counterprogrammer “Parental Guidance,” which earned $14.8 million in three days, for a Stateside cume of nearly $30 million through Sunday.

“This a tremendous end to the year,” said Fox domestic distribution topper Chris Aronson. “When we have something for everybody in the marketplace, then that’s when the marketplace really works.”

Sony-MGM’s “Skyfall” crossed $1 billion globally this weekend, making it the 14th film in history (and third this year) to hit that mark.In limited release, Sony’s “Zero Dark Thirty” grossed $315,000 from five locations, posting another stellar weekend per-screen average of $63,000. Pic’s cumed $1.4 million domestically and expands Friday to roughly 60 locations.

Focus Features launched the Matt Damon starrer “Promised Land” at 25 Stateside locations, estimating $190,150 for a modest per-screen average of $7,606. The film got lost in a uber-crowded post-Christmas frame. Focus expands the film wide on Friday to roughly 1,500 engagements.

Paramount, meanwhile, expanded Tom Cruise pic “Jack Reacher” to 25 overseas markets this weekend, where it grossed $18.1 million for a cume of $22.5 million. Pic has done OK-at-best business so far domestically, totaling $44.7 million since Dec. 21.

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