Holiday domestic box office reaches second-best total on Tuesday

‘Twas a very merry Christmas, indeed, at the domestic box office, as totals rang in at approximately $75 million, making it the holiday’s second-biggest tally ever, boosted by Universal’s leader “Les Miserables,” which earned $18.2 million.

“Les Mis” scored the No. 2 highest Christmas day opening, behind 2009’s “Sherlock Holmes,” at $24 million, while the Weinstein Co.’s “Django Unchained” earned $15 million — the holiday’s third-best debut and largest for an R-rated film.

Christmas day totals rank only behind the 2009 holiday, when the one-two punch of “Sherlock Holmes” and “Avatar” ($23.1 million) lifted domestic B.O. to $83 million. However, what makes this year’s Christmas B.O. so impressive is that it fell on a Tuesday, compared to the 2009 benchmark, which happened on a Friday.

“Les Mis” and “Django” dramatically overperformed as the pics were expected to hover above $10 million each, with the former maintaining a slight edge. Still, stellar advanced ticket sales suggested “Les Mis” could outdo projections.

Also beating expectations, Fox’s family counterprogrammer “Parental Guidance” debuted Tuesday with north of $6 million — more than double its projected upside.

And among the holdovers, Warner Bros.’ “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” continued its quest toward holiday domination, as it collected $11.3 million, lifting its domestic cume to $168.3 million in 12 days.

Sony’s “Zero Dark Thirty” grossed $112,094 from five locations, averaging $22,418 per screen. Pic’s cumed $868,784 domestically through Tuesday.

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