Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ has won the North American Christmas Day box office after exceeding expectations with a strong $15.6m launch from 3,131 theatres. A powerful ‘A-‘ CinemaScore from first night audiences will go a long way to propelling word-of-mouth but so-so reviews (currently 50% on RT and only 39% from TC’s) will take the edge off momentum. It will beat the top end $30m pre-release forecasts for the four day holiday session but may not take enough to claim top position.
Not far behind, ‘Into the Woods’, also opened stronger than expected, taking an encouraging $13.6m from a modest 2,440 theatres. Again audiences and critics disagreed but, this time, the other way around with an average ‘B’ CinemaScore against a 72% RT reviews aggregate, inc an astonishing 91% from the influential ‘top critics’. Rob Marshall’s Broadway adaptation should also clear $30m over the four days.
Last weekend’s No. 1, ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ remains favourite to win the holiday session after taking an impressive $12.7m on Christmas Day.
And the speciality market will claim its share of the headlines with Sony launching the controversial ‘The Interview’ in a limited 331 independent theatres after the hacking scandal forced major distributors to pull out. The political comedy grossed an OK $1m but Wednesday’s online platform release had an obvious impact.
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