Box Office: ‘The Interview’ Earns $1 Million on Christmas; ‘Unbroken,’ ‘Into the Woods’ Surging to $40M

The Interview Box Office Could Hit

Sony’s “The Interview” has delivered over $1 million on its opening day on Christmas — an impressive launch for a title playing in only about 300 independent theaters in the U.S.

The estimate for the controversial comedy came after a launch amid a barrage of news coverage, with several theaters opting for midnight screenings. The Alamo Drafthouse chain had reported on Christmas Eve that it had sold out all of its opening-day screenings at 17 locations.

The numbers for “The Interview” may drop off in coming days given that Sony launched a VOD release on Wednesday morning via YouTube, Google Play, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and its own site. Major chains such as AMC, Regal and Carmike are refusing to book “The Interview” due to the VOD release.

The awareness of “The Interview” may have benefited rival titles, which saw Christmas grosses come in well above estimates, with three titles — Universal’s “Unbroken,” Disney’s “Into the Woods” and New Line-MGM’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” heading for at least $40 million each for the four-day Christmas weekend.

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.

“Into the Woods” delivered Christmas box office in the $12 million to $13 million range at 2,424, with the top numbers coming from large cities, portending a weekend in the $39 million to $44 million range.

Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” finale doubled its $6 million Christmas Eve total to about $12 million at 3,875, leading to a probable $40 million weekend — a hold that’s in line with the previous two films — and a U.S. total around $155 million by the end of Sunday.

Paramount’s remake of “The Gambler” opened respectably with about $4.5 million at 2,478 on Christmas, portending a weekend of around $15 million. The Weinstein Co.’s “Big Eyes” opened moderately with $1.5 million at 1,307.

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  1. hahaha says:

    Hopefully something will knock Hobbit out of first place. Dreadful video-game movie.

  2. Walt Peterson says:

    Hopefully, the uproar over The Interview will inspire more, and better, politically satirical films of world leaders. Goodness knows how so many of them deserve it.

  3. LOL says:

    Nothing like staying at home with the family on Christmas Day. Nope, America went and saw a load of crap films.

  4. BluDog says:

    Good Xmas box office haul for The Interview then. Not bad for a movie that otherwise would have gone unnoticed and straight to Netflix !

  5. Julienne says:

    Thank you Patriotic Theater owners for having a pair…and refusing to allow Communist countries to dictate our freedoms.

  6. Ian says:

    “Major chains such as AMC, Regal and Carmike are refusing to book “The Interview” due to the VOD release.” No, they are the reason that Sony turned to VOD. Those chains refused to show the film because of a misguided fear of terrorism. Not letting you get away with revisionist history, Variety.

    • Matthew says:

      Sony offered the major chains the opportunity to drop “The Interview” in the wake of threats of physical violence, and perhaps not surprisingly, they took Sony up on the offer. Make no mistake, this was a business decision for the major chains as much as it was a safety issue. The early reports of a huge bump in the Christmas Day box office would seem to show that the major chains made the right decision, as moviegoers were not scared of going to the movies, as they may well have been had these chains shows “The Interview”. Now – having gone the VOD route, the major chains would have absolutely no interest in releasing a movie that is so readily available. So, whatever the reason for refusing to show the film last week, the VOD showings are why they won’t consider showing it in the future.

  7. Geri says:

    Perhaps the 18-year-old crowd wasn’t expected to see “Unbroken”, but what about adults? Everyone I have talked to about movies hopes to see it.

    • At the theater I saw Unbroken in, there were people of all ages from young kids to older people. Many, and I mean many, 30 to 40 year old were there, kind of blows that one posters theory. All demographics were well represented, this film appeals to everyone. It’s a wonderful uplifting film, Angie did a great job, the actors were wonderful, especially Jack and Miyavi. This is a movie for everyone, don’t hesitate to see it, it will make you feel better about the human spirit. Louie was one of a kind, so glad Angie made this film for him.

    • Alexandra Ishtar says:

      My 65 yo mother wants to see it. My 40 yo self and husband want to see it. But our 14 yo son says critics panned it so it can’t be good….

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