LOS ANGELES — “Les Miserables" could reach a crescendo this weekend as Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the classic Broadway musical has a strong chance of claiming No. 1 at the box office.
The star-studded film, which hit theaters Christmas Day, has been doing excellent business since its premiere and has already sold $30.3 million of tickets, distributor Universal Pictures estimates.
By Sunday, the movie featuring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe is likely to rake in an additional $35 million, say those who have seen prerelease audience surveys.
That’s about how much “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is expected to collect over the weekend, so the two films will be in a tight race for the top spot. As it enters its third weekend in theaters, Peter Jackson’s $250 million prequel to the “Lord of the Rings" trilogy has grossed $179.7 million in the U.S. and $344 million overseas.
“Django Unchained," Quentin Tarantino’s Western fantasy, is poised to take in an additional $30 million this weekend after starting off with a healthy $25 million from Tuesday and Wednesday screenings.
Even “Parental Guidance," a critically reviled family comedy starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, may have a better-than-anticipated weekend at the box office.
Since opening Christmas Day, the movie has made $10.6 million, and from Friday to Sunday it could gross as much as $15 million.
Moviegoers showed up in droves to the multiplex on Christmas Day, when “Les Miz" posted the second-highest opening of all time for the holiday — behind 2009’s “Sherlock Holmes," not accounting for inflation.
“Les Miz," which attracted a 56 percent female crowd, was most liked, earning an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore.