Christmas Day at the box office is always a gift to the film industry, but yesterday, one studio got to unwrap an especially happy present. Universal’s ambitious adaptation of the beloved operetta Les Misèrables started off with a gross that was anything but miserable, earning a tremendous $18.2 million from 2,808 theaters on Christmas Day. That’s the second best Christmas opening ever behind only Sherlock Holmes, which earned $24.6 million on Christmas 2009 (which was a Friday). Overall, Les Mis achieved the fourth best Christmas Day gross ever. Only Sherlock Holmes, Avatar ($23.9 million on a Friday), and Meet the Fockers ($19.5 million on a Saturday) have done better on Dec. 25.
In short, the Tom Hooper-directed film, which cost a reported $60 million to produce, is off to a remarkable start, and with an A CinemaScore grade and inspirational appeal, it’s set to dominate the box office in the days to come.
Due to the holiday, Weinstein has not reported official numbers for Django Unchained yet, but the Quentin Tarantino western seems to have easily exceeded expectations — estimates have Django earning about $15 million yesterday. Stay tuned to EW for more box office news.