2012 Box Office Finishes Strong

PHOTO: This undated publicity photo provided by Universal Pictures shows Anne Hathaway, left, as Fantine, being thrown out of the factory in a scene from director, Tom Hoopers new film, "Les Misérables," the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved globa

Christmas Day movie sales, estimated to be $73 million, are capping off a stellar year at the box office.

"Les Miserables," the big-screen musical starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, led Christmas Day sales, with an estimated $17.5 million on its opening day.

Quentin Tarantino's slave revenge fantasy Western "Django Unchained," starring Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington, also had a strong showing, coming in second at the box office with projected grosses of $14 million for its Christmas Day opening.

"The strength of Christmas day further solidified that we're going out on a higher note," Hollywood.com's box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian told ABCNews.com. "We are having one heck of a final push."

That final push is expected to take box office sales to a record $10.8 billion by Jan. 31. That's good news for Hollywood. After two consecutive years of declining ticket sales, movie attendance in North America is up by 5.6 percent, according to Dergarabedian.

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Projections show that about 1.36 billion people will see films this year, compared with 1.29 billion in 2011, and revenue is expected to jump by 6 percent.

Best of all, Hollywood achieved the increase without raising the price of tickets. Dergarabedian said ticket prices remained relatively stable, with only about a penny difference from last year.

Instead, Hollywood was able to attract audiences with quality films, including some original ones like "Ted," new stars, like Channing Tatum and Jennifer Lawrence, and a more improved in-theater experience, with the rise of Imax, according to Dergarabedian.

"Starting with 'The Hunger Games' and 'Dr. Seuss' The Lorax' in March, the box office has been on a roll," Dergarabedian said. "The end of summer was a bit slow, as was the start of fall, but everything kicked in with 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2,' 'Skyfall,' 'Lincoln.' There have been some really cool films this year too, like 'Snow White and the Huntsman' and 'Brave.'"

Plenty of films also broke records this year, including "The Avengers," which grossed $200.3 million its first weekend, and "The Hobbitt: An Unexpected Journey," which raked in an estimated $84.8 million in its opening weekend for the highest December debut ever. "Skyfall" has taken in $280 million in North America so far, making it one of most successful James Bond movies on record.

Here were the top 10 highest-grossing movies of 2012:

1. "The Avengers" 2. "The Dark Knight Rises" 3. "The Hunger Games" 4. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" 5. "Skyfall" 6. "The Amazing Spider-Man" 7. "Brave" 8. "Ted" 9. "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" 10. "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax"

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