If you like to watch your films in contemplative silence, you might want to avoid Les Miserables for a bit.
Because Les Mis mania is sweeping the nation’s cinemas – complete with tears, cheers and even standing ovations.Showings of the long-awaited film have been packed, and it has broken box office records for its opening weekend ticket sales.The film, based on the hugely popular musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, pulled in more than £8.1million and accounted for 40 per cent of cinema attendances.
That’s far more than the previous record for a film musical’s opening weekend – Mamma Mia’s £6.62million.The film, which stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as Fantine and Russell Crowe as Javert, had its British and American premieres in early December, but was only released in cinemas here on Friday.
It has prompted an emotional outpouring from fans, with reports that audiences have cried and burst into applause after the big numbers, and risen for a standing ovation at the end – behaviour traditionally only seen at a premiere when the cast and crew are present.Independent cinemas such as the Tricycle Theatre in North London and the Belmont Picturehouse in Aberdeen said they had had ‘packed’ showings with some customers applauding during and after the film, and others in ‘floods of tears’ as the credits rolled.
Those who had seen it took to social networks to share their astonishment at the reaction. One, James Pepper, said: ‘Just got out of seeing Les Miserables at the cinema.‘Packed, applause at the end, and lots of teary eyed people. Not seen much like it.’Katharine Watkinson added: ‘Absolutely amazing. Whole audience crying and clapping [and a] standing ovation.’The film won huge critical and popular acclaim after its US release, and was nominated for nine Baftas and eight Academy Awards before fans here had a chance to see it. It won three Golden Globes on Sunday.
Producer Eric Fellner said: ‘It’s fantastic to see Les Miserables become the top grossing film at the UK box office.‘We’re incredibly proud that this film, like the stage play, is proving to be a truly global phenomenon which has really struck an emotional chord with audiences.’The film, which is estimated to have cost £38million to make, has already grossed £125million worldwide.The story, set against the backdrop of social unrest in 19th century France, follows the fortunes of fugitive turned gentlemen Jean Valjean, tragic Fantine and her beautiful daughter Cosette.
Theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who is one of the film’s producers, first launched the musical in the UK in 1985.There have since been more than 10,000 performances and it is now the second-longest running production in the West End after The Mousetrap.The film version is classed as British despite heavy American investment and an international cast.It is partly backed by UK production companies and features British stars including Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen and Eddie Redmayne. Its director, Tom Hooper – who won an Oscar for The King’s Speech two years ago – is also British. – DailyMail