Hereâ€™s an update on Christmas Day box office, thanks to numbers from boxofficemojo,com: Bette Midler and Billy Crystalâ€™s family comedy, â€œParental Guidance,â€ with Marisa Tomei, handily beat Tom Cruise in â€œJack Reacherâ€ for fourth place. The first three films were â€œLes Miserablesâ€ with $18.1 mil, â€œDhango Unchainedâ€ with $15 mil, and â€œThe Hobbitâ€ with $11.3 million.
But who would have expected Midler and Crystal, names not seen above the credits or opening a film in more than a decade, to knock it out of the park? With $6.3 million they outpaced Cruise by $1 million. Of course, with kids, on Christmas, do you take them to see a Disney type comedy or a movie where a sniper picks off five people in the first few minutes? You tell me.
Kudos to Midler and Crystal, who are not exactly family fare from the old days. They were both pretty R rated comedians, delivering cutting edge stuff with a sweet smile. Now, in their 60s, they just deliver the sweet I guess. Imagine if Midler stopped in mid movie and told one of her old bawdy jokes! But you know, now theyâ€™ll get a little franchise out of this, maybe one or two more â€œParental Guidanceâ€episodes and find a new audience. Thatâ€™s called reinvention.
As for Cruise, who has refused to reinvent himself, â€œReacherâ€ has been something of a reach. The thriller now has $23.5 million since Friday, which wouldnâ€™t be bad if your star didnâ€™t get the first $20 million before costs and the movie didnâ€™t cost at least $80 million. I guess some of that will be mixed into his â€œMission Impossibleâ€ pay out.
Elsewhere, â€œZero Dark Thirtyâ€ is doing well, but presenting an interesting problem day to day. On Monday and Tuesday it did less well than on the weekend. Instead of building interest, the Kathryn Bigelow directed thriller (yes, itâ€™s a thriller) didnâ€™t maintain its highs in very limited release. Itâ€™s hard to say how this bodes for the future. All the controversy should have pushed more people to see it, as they did for â€œDjango.â€ But maybe â€œZD30â€³ will fare better once the kids are back in school.