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The Biggest Christmas Day Movies

Many people like to go to the movies on Christmas Day. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a good movie. Here are the 10 highest-grossing movies that opened on December 25th.

Keep in mind that these box office numbers don’t carry a lot of weight because there are so many variables. For one thing, ticket prices change (they go up!). And some movies open on 1200 screens and some movies open on 3500 screens. And sometimes the weather is nice on Christmas and sometimes the weather is dreary. And some years you’d rather hang out with the relatives, and some years you’ll do just about anything to avoid talking with the relatives… you’ll even go see Patch Adams.

Witness the Top 10:

1. Sherlock Holmes, the 2009 rambling mess that starred Robert Downey , Jr. and Jude Law, is the boss. It’s opening day total was about $24.6 million.

2. Marley & Me, the 2008 Owen Wilson movie about a dog who flies an airliner into a skyscraper, opened to $14.4 million.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the 2008 Brad Pitt film that was that year’s movie-you-want-to-have-seen-more-than-you-want-to-actually-see, grossed $11.9 million the day it opened.

4. Bedtime Stories, the Adam Sandler movie that in 2008 became the 131st Adam Sandler movie I missed seeing, pulled in $10.6 million.

5. Ali, the 2001 biopic that starred Will Smith as Ali Landry (??), took in $10.2 million.

6. Catch Me If You Can, Steven Spielberg‘s tribute to Tom Hanks‘s southern accent, made $9.9 million on Christmas Day in 2002.

7. Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, the 2007 chew-em-up, brought in $9.5 million.

8. Dream Girls, the 2006 movie where Eddie Murphy didn’t play all the parts, took in $8.7 million.

9. Valkyrie, that Tom Cruise movie where he tried to kill Hitler (Adolf, not Barney), grossed $8.5 million on Christmas of 2008.

10. Patch Adams, in fact, rounds out the top ten, with $8.1 million in ticket sales, despite the fact that Robin Williams won 1998’s Treacle Award for his performance.

None of these are great movies. Not that I’ve seen all of them (does that matter?) I have seen only two of the top ten, and I see a lot of movies. I don’t know how I compare to the national average, but I see 35-40 movies a year in the theater, and another 100 or so on DVD or streaming video. That seems like kind of a lot.

But when I look at that list, I notice I’ve only seen Catch Me If You Can and Valkyrie. I doubt I saw them on Christmas Day, but I know I saw them the weekend they opened. I have seen about 20 minutes of Sherlock Holmes, and I find no compelling reason to see the rest. Nor do I find a compelling reason to see the other films on this list.

The next five on the list don’t thrill me either:

11. Cheaper by the Dozen, $7.8 million

12. It’s Complicated, $7.2 million

13. The Talented Mr. Ripley, $6.4 million

14. The Godfather Part III, $6.4 million

15. Stepmom, $5.9 million

I have seen Ripley and Godfather III and didn’t like either one. For this piece I chose the photo from Ripley, even though it’s not in the top ten, because Matt Damon looks so gosh-darned young, and because if Gwyneth Paltrow was pulling her cheeks in any further, her skull would collapse.

Oh, and because Jude Law has the distinction of starring as a sidekick in two out of the top fifteen.

This Christmas, both Spielberg and Hanks have a chance at Law’s accomplishment, since both have movies opening on Christmas Day (look it up). 

Now that should thrill you.

(P.S. Full disclosure: I’m sitting in a Barnes & Noble as I write this, because my mother-in-law does not have an internet connection.)

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