Today (Dec. 26), Variety revealed that The Color Purple exceeded box office expectations when it premiered in theaters on Christmas Day (Dec. 25). According to the publication, the musical remake of the 1985 classic pulled in $18 million from 3,152 theaters in North America — the largest Christmas Day opening for a film since 2009 and the second-biggest Christmas Day opening of all time.

The Color Purple, an adaptation of Alice Walker’s 1982 novel of the same name, boasts an ensemble cast that includes Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Tamela Mann, Deon Cole, Louis Gossett Jr., Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Ciara, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor and Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, the last of whom took on the leading role of Celie Harris Johnson. As REVOLT previously reported, Fantasia revealed a constant emotional struggle as a result of the character, who endured a lot of abuse within the story.

“There were times that I just felt like I’m not going to make it. I cannot do it. I would cry going to set. I would cry leaving set,” the Grammy Award-winning artist expressed to the New York Times. “I would talk to God and I would tell him, ‘You’ve got to make this make sense. Make it make sense. There’s got to be something out of this.’ It was so hard.”

Producer Scott Sanders, who recruited Fantasia for both the 2023 film and the successful Broadway iteration that preceded it, added, “It was a challenging time in her life, and it was very hard for her to compartmentalize between being Fantasia Barrino in the daytime and being Celie Johnson at night. When she was called ugly eight times a week onstage during [the Broadway theater run], it took a very strong emotional toll on her. It was a rough nine months for her.”