UPDATE: Friday PM/Saturday AM Box Office: ‘The Hobbit’ #1, ‘Django’ Neck & Neck With ‘Les Misérables’ For #2

FRIDAY 12 PM, 9TH UPDATE: This film trio should stay on top through the rest of the holidays. MGM/Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey made $10.1M Thursday to bring it back to #1 and its domestic cume to $189.7M. Coming off of a strong Boxing Day internationally, Thursday continued to deliver huge numbers generating an estimated $26M from 62 territories,  an increase of 34% over last week. Pic continues to rank #1 in key markets and across the world, and the overseas cume to date now stands at $373M. Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth epic is approaching $563M worldwide total. Dropping from #1 to #2 is Working Title/Universal’s Les Misérables which grossed $9.1M Thursday for $39.4M domestic in its first three days of release. Musical grossed $3.8M internationally on Thursday to raise its overseas total to $32.2M.  The worldwide total currently stands at $71.6M. Internationally, Les Miz is playing in Australia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Spain. Still in the #3 slot, Quentin Tarantino’s controversial R-rated Django Unchained for The Weinstein Company added $8.3M Thursday for $33.3M domestic in just 3 days. Here’s the Top Ten films based on Thursday estimates:

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (MGM/WB) Week 2 [Runs 4,100]
Tuesday $11.3M, Wednesday $11.3M, Thursday $10.1M (-11%), Cume $189.7M

2. Les Misérables (Working Title/Universal) NEW [Runs 2,808]
Tuesday $18.1M, Wednesday $12.2M, Thursday $9.1M (-24%), Cume $39.4M

3. Django Unchained (Sony/Weinstein) NEW [Runs 3,010]
Tuesday $15.0M, Wednesday $10.0M, Thursday $8.3M (-17%), Cume $33.3M

4. Parental Guidance (Walden/Fox) NEW [Runs 3,358]
Tuesday $6.4M, Wednesday $4.2M, Thursday $4.1M (-4%), Cume $14.7M

5. Jack Reacher (Skydance/Paramount) Week 1 [Runs 3,352]
Tuesday $5.3M, Wednesday $3.8M, Thursday $3.5M (-7%), Cume $30.7M

6. This Is 40 (Universal) Week 1 [Runs 2,913]
Tuesday $4.4M, Wednesday $3.3M, Thursday $3.1M (-5%), Cume $23.9M

7. Lincoln (DreamWorks/Fox/Disney) Week 7 [Runs 1,966]
Tuesday $2.3M, Wednesday $2.1M, Thursday $2.1M (-1%), Cume $124.5M

8. Monsters Inc 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 1 [Runs 2,618]
Tuesday $1.4M, Wednesday $1.6M, Thursday $1.9M (+16%), Cume $12.1M

9. The Guilt Trip (Skydance/Paramount) Week 1 [Runs 2,431]
Tuesday $2.6M, Wednesday $1.6M, Thursday $1.6M (+2%), Cume $14.3M

10. Rise Of The Guardians (DWA/Par) Week 5 [Runs 3,031]
Tuesday $1.2M, Wednesday $1.4M, Thursday $1.6M (+11%), Cume $85.4M

THURSDAY 9:45 AM, 6TH UPDATE: Working Title/Universal’s #1 Les Misérables has grossed $28.3M internationally. Combined with the North American 2-day total of $30.3M, the worldwide cume now is $58.6M. The film is playing in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Spain so there are many overseas territories still to go. Australia opened Wednesday with $1.9M and set the record as the biggest opening day ever for a musical (45% bigger than the opening day of Mamma Mia!). It was also the biggest opening day for a Russell Crowe film and the biggest opening day for a Working Title production. As for #2, MGM/Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey now has amassed a gargantuane $344M international and $179.7M domestic for a global cume of $523.7M. In the #3 slot, Quentin Tarantino’s controversial Django Unchained for The Weinstein Company has made $25M domestic in just two days. Sony is releasing it abroad. And rounding out the Top 5, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler in the Walden/Fox family fare Parental Guidance continue to beat Tom Cruise in the Paramount/Skydance actioner Jack Reacher. Go figure.

WEDNESDAY 8:30 PM, 5TH UPDATE: It may have been a quiet Christmas Day in the malls - but it’s busy, busy, busy in the multiplexes around the U.S. and Canada. This turned into a supersized Christmas Day for domestic filmgoing. That’s a great year-end gift for Hollywood after keeping the budgets of these debut movies minimal. Audiences repaid the favor by giving all three new wide releases movies no less than ‘A-’ scores to help their word of mouth. Leading the pack is Working Title/Universal’s Les Misérables debuting #1 in 2,808 theaters and receiving a coveted ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences. The musical lived up to both Fandango’s and MovieTickets’ reports of huge advance online sales. (It was the #1 advance ticket-seller among all Christmas Day releases, surpassing previous record-holder Sherlock Holmes in 2009.) The studio was hoping Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the world-reknown musical would open to $10+M. Well, my insiders said Friday’s grosses looked like a big $15M to $20M — then settling on $18M, and they were right – for the PG13 film that runs 2 hours and 37 minutes and stars Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe. (Speaking of the latter, may I never again have to hear Crowe sing like a cat being strangled. I hope he lip-syncs in that rock band of his…) Of course, Christmas Day tends to have higher mix of presales, especially for the openers, so these numbers could change a lot by Wednesday and Thursday. But as one studio exec analyzed, “Christmas Day has very unique play patterns by genre, region of the country, ethnicity, and target demo. You won’t really know where films are headed until Friday. But that’s a fantastic number for Les Miz.”It was the 2nd highest Christmas Day opening in history behind 2009′s Sherlock Holmes which opened on a Friday to $24.6M. Les Miz now holds the record for the biggest non-weekend Christmas Day opening in history, besting 2008′s Marley & Me which opened on a Thursday to $14.4M. It is also the highest ever opening day for a musical.

Comfortably in #2 is Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained from The Weinstein Company/Sony Pictures which is clearly profiting from the shock value of all its N-word awareness and violence controversy. Not only did it overperform but it is gaining as the night goes on from the $14M first thought. Doing $15M Friday is gigantic for the R-rated movie playing in 3,010 theaters and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx. Pic received an ‘A-’ CinemaScore and supposedly set a new record for an R-rated Christmas Day opening.

Moving down to #3 is MGM/New Line/Warner Bros’ global blockbuster The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from Peter Jackson settles into Week 2 and 4,100 theaters with $11.3M Friday.

And Chernin Entertainment produced Walden/Fox’s formulaic family comedy Parental Guidance opening in 3,358 theaters and starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler is grossing as much as $5.4M Friday. It, too, received an ‘A-’ CinemaScore.

Meanwhile, The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook made $1.1M (cume $21.3M) after approximately doubling its theater count to 745 plays entering 7 weeks in release. And Paramount’s Circle Du Soleil: Worlds  Away made $1M for $3.5M. And DreamWorks Animation’s Rise Of The Guardians benefitted from the paucity of kiddie toons with $1.2M and $82.3M. And MGM/Sony Pictures’ James Bond #23 Skyfall nears $1B worldwide. And Fox’s Life Of Pi which is doing gangbusters overseas. And Sony Pictures’  Zero Dark Thirty which platformed to $112K on 5 screens for $868K in Week 1. Look for me to play catch up on all the box office (and go from nice to nasty) now that I’m on the mend.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.