Week Ending Dec. 30, 2012. Albums: “Les Miz” Zooms To #2
The Les Miserables soundtrack vaults from #33 to #2 in its second week on The Billboard 200. It’s already the highest-charting soundtrack to the movie version of a Broadway musical since Mamma Mia! hit #1 in August 2008. The movie, which stars Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, was #3 at the box-office in its opening weekend.
Les Miz first opened on Broadway on May 12, 1987, which means it took 25 years and eight months for the show to spawn a top 10 movie soundtrack. That’s the longest wait since Chicago took 27 years and eight months. Chicago opened on Broadway on June 3, 1975 and finally yielded a top 10 movie soundtrack in February 2003.
Les Miz won a Tony as Best Musical. The Broadway cast album received a Grammy as Best Musical Cast Show Album. That album re-enters the chart this week at #171. It has climbed as high as #117, and has sold 1,591,000 copies. (Cast albums sell steadily over time and often sell far better than their chart peak numbers might indicate.) The London cast album, which has climbed as high as #106 (and has sold 884K copies to date), just missed making this week’s chart.
Les Miz is #1 on Top Soundtracks for the second week.
Les Miz is unique among screen musicals in that there is very little spoken dialogue in the movie. The story is told through the songs. In this regard, it is similar to 1975’s movie version of The Who’s 1969 album Tommy and 1996’s movie version of Evita, which starred Madonna. Both of those soundtracks peaked at #2.
“I Dreamed A Dream,” the most famous song from the show, was the title track of Susan Boyle’s debut album, which spent six weeks at #1 in 2009-2010.
Taylor Swift’s Red logs its seventh week at #1. In addition, the album tops the 3 million mark in U.S. sales in its 10th week. That’s the fastest that any album has reached 3 million since Susan Boyle’s aforementioned I Dreamed A Dream topped the 3 million mark in its sixth week in January 2010.
Each of Swift’s four studio albums has reached the 3 million mark faster than the one before it. Taylor Swift took 85 weeks. Fearless took 22 weeks. Speak Now took 11 weeks.