Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman in <i>Les Miserables</i>
Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables
(© 2012 Universal Studios)
The hotly anticipated big-screen adaptation of the musical Les Miserables grossed an impressive $18 million in its first day of release, according to Deadline.com, and set a new record for advanced ticket sales among all Christmas Day releases. The nearly three-hour film debuted in 2,808 theaters to much fanfare and excitement.

The reported box office total puts Les Miserables firmly in the number two spot for highest-grossing Christmas Day-openings of all time, behind Sherlock Holmes, which took in $24.6 million in 2009, according to Box Office Mojo. The new top five will also likely include this year's Django Unchained ($15.5 million, according to Deadline), along with 2008's Marley and Me ($14.3 million) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($11.8 million).

Theater geeks and theater stars alike spent at least part of Christmas Eve or Day at their local cinemas; in New York City, showings of the film began at 10pm on December 24 and very quickly sold out. Broadway stars like Will Chase (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes (Cinderella) proudly shared their excitement for the film on their social media feeds.

The film stars Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman (The Boy From Oz) as ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, and follows his decades on the run from ruthless police inspector Javert (Academy Award winner Russell Crowe). Based on the internationally renowned stage musical, Les Miserables is directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), with a screenplay by William Nicholson (Gladiator) and the show's Tony Award-winning co-writers, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schöenberg, and Herbert Kretzmer. Also featured in the cast are Academy Award nominees Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), and Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), Tony Award winner Eddie Redmayne (Red), Amanda Seyfried (Big Love), and stage veterans Samantha Barks (the West End production of Les Miserables) and Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal).

The original Broadway production of Les Miserables won eight 1987 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It is the fourth-longest running show in Broadway history, coming in at 6,680 performances by the time of its closing in 2003. A subsequent revival in 2006 ran 463 performances.