Universal Pictures would have loved to put "Les Miserables," Tom Hooper's follow-up to the Oscar-winning "The King's Speech," onto the fall festival circuit to build support and buzz. But the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh epic period film adaptation of the global hit musical wasn't anywhere near ready.
Thus it is not a huge surprise that the studio is pushing back the movie, which stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, from December 14 to the last possible day that it could still recoup some major holiday business: December 25. It will open after "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Impossible," opposite Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."
This late a break could have an impact on the awards race if the movie isn't ready to screen by late November for critics groups such as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which nominates Golden Globes contenders, and the New York and LA Film Critics. This movie should be catnip for Oscar voters: it's got scale, scope, and top actors in period garb and settings.
Luckily the 19th century musical based on Victor Hugo's French classic is well-branded: after all it's been seen by 60 million people in 42 countries in 21 languages and in its 27th year is still playing such famed songs as “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More” and “On My Own.”