'Les Miserables,' 'Django Unchained' bow big at Christmas box office

Anne-Hathaway-Fantine-Les-miserables.jpegBig debuts for "Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained" restored the holiday cheer in Hollywood after a weak pre-Christmas weekend.

Both of the Oscar-buzzed films opened on Christmas day. "Les Mis" took the top slot with a very impressive $18.2 million opening day. That's the biggest first day on record for a musical and the #1 Christmas day opening ever on a weekday.

"Django" also wowed, nabbing $15 million to set another record: top Christmas opening for a R-rated movie.

The only film to ever bow bigger on Christmas than "Les Mis" or "Django" is 2009's "Sherlock Holmes," which nabbed a massive $24 million, but also had the advantage of opening on a Friday.

Just for perspective of how bleak things were looking before the holiday: Tom Cruise's "Jack Reacher" was the top weekend newcomer and posted $15.6 million for the three day period, a figure that "Les Mis" easily surpassed and "Django" nearly topped in a single day.

The newcomers easily bested the $11.3 million Christmas day take of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which continues a just-OK performance compared to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

The Billy Crystal-Bette Midler family comedy "Parental Guidance" also opened on Christmas and outdid expectations with $6.4 million. That was good enough to beat the numbers posted by "Reacher" ($5.3 million) and additional holdovers "This is 40" ($4.4 million) and "The Guilt Trip" ($2.6 million).

Awards contender "Silver Linings Playbook" expanded to 745 playdates and earned $1.1 million, despite being in considerably less theaters than the top films.