The Phantom of the Opera (2004 film)
|The Phantom of the Opera|
|Directed by||Joel Schumacher|
|Produced by||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Screenplay by||Joel Schumacher
Andrew Lloyd Webber
|Based on||The Phantom of the Opera
by Andrew Lloyd Webber
|Music by||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Editing by||Terry Rawlings|
|Studio||Really Useful Films
Joel Schumacher Productions
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||143 minutes|
Directed by Joel Schumacher, the film was also produced and co-written by Lloyd Webber. The Phantom of the Opera stars Gerard Butler in the title role, Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé, as well as Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry and Minnie Driver as Carlotta Giudicelli.
The film was announced as early as 1989, but production only started in 2002 due to Lloyd Webber's divorce and Schumacher's busy career. It was entirely shot at Pinewood Studios, with sceneries also being depicted with the help of miniatures and computer graphics. Rossum, Wilson, and Driver had singing experience, but Butler had no experience and had to receive music lessons. The Phantom of the Opera grossed approximately $154 million worldwide, and received mixed reviews, praising the visuals and acting but criticising the writing and directing.
For a more detailed plot, go to The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical)
In 1919, the dilapidated Paris Opera House holds an auction. Raoul, the Viscount of Chagny, now an old wheelchair-bound man, purchases a coveted music box in a shape of a monkey wearing Persian robes and playing cymbals. During the auction, Raoul spots a familiar figure: Meg Giry, whom he met as a young man. Meg is now an elderly woman, almost 50 years later. Their attention is called on by the next piece for auction, lot 666: a chandelier in pieces which has been restored and newly wired with electricity. As the auctioneers display the restored chandelier, which illuminates and slowly rises to its old place in the rafters the opening crescendo of music wipes away the years of decay from the opera house as the black and white turns into colour, and the audience is transported back in time to 1870, the beginning of the story, when the opera was in its prime.
A disfigured musical genius, named Erik, called "The Phantom", lives within the deepest recess of the opera house. Tormented by his memories of being abused as a child due to his scarred face, Erik, the Phantom, lives in the watery labyrinths beneath the Opéra Populaire in Paris. After nearly ten years of quiet obsession with the delicate, ethereal voice of Christine Daaé and the beautiful young soprano herself, he plots to place his protégé at centre stage.
Christine is caught between her love for Raoul, her childhood sweetheart who has returned into her life, and her fascination and pity for Erik, the Phantom. Angry and possessive, Erik plots to make Christine his, resorting to stalking her wherever she goes as well as killing Joseph Buquet, a stagehand. A swordfight later ensues in the cemetery, where Raoul eventually disarms him and is about to kill him when Christine pleads for him not to, "not like this." His rage seemingly augmented, Erik angrily states as Christine and Raoul walk away: "Now, let it be war upon you both." During the night's play, he steals Christine away, kills Piangi, the lead male singer in almost all of the Opera's productions, and avoids the trap to be captured by Raoul and the managers. After a series of tense, chaotic sequences, including dropping the chandelier (the one from the beginning of the film) and setting the opera house on fire, Erik imprisons Raoul, who attempts to save Christine, and threatens to strangle him to death if Christine does not choose Erik.
Christine kisses Erik, the Phantom, in order to save Raoul's life, while displaying her pity and compassion for him. Ashamed of what he's done, he begs Christine and Raoul to leave for he realises if he really loves Christine he should set her free. Just before she departs with Raoul on the boat, Christine approaches Erik, the Phantom, who tells her that he loves her, and gives him the diamond ring from her finger. Christine and Raoul row away as Christine glances back at Erik. After they leave, Erik then uses a candelabrum to smash every mirror in his underground lair and he disappears behind a velvet curtain into an empty glass mirror portal, before the police arrive. Upon entering, Meg, the ballet mistress's daughter, finds only Erik's white mask.
Later, the grainy black and white picture dominates as the elderly Raoul rides to a cemetery where he goes to visit Christine's tomb, which reveals that she died only two years before, in 1917, at age 63. Her tombstone says "Vicomtess of Chagny" and "beloved wife and mother", suggesting she married Raoul, had children and died of old age. He lays the monkey music box at her grave site, and notices that on the left of the tombstone lies a red rose with a black ribbon tied around it (a trademark of the Phantom) with the engagement ring attached to it, implying that Erik, the Phantom, is still alive, and will always love Christine.
- Gerard Butler as The Phantom
- Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé
- Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny
- Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry
- Minnie Driver as Carlotta Giudicelli (Margaret Preece as Carlotta's singing voice)
- Ciarán Hinds as Richard Firmin
- Simon Callow as Gilles André
- Victor McGuire as Ubaldo Piangi
- Jennifer Ellison as Meg Giry
- Murray Melvin as Monsieur Reyer
- Kevin McNally as Joseph Buquet
- James Fleet as Monsieur Lefèvre
Hugh Jackman was offered the chance to audition for the Phantom, but he faced scheduling conflicts with Van Helsing. "They rang to ask about my availability," Jackman explained in an April 2003 interview, "probably about 20 other actors as well. I wasn't available, unfortunately. So, that was a bummer." "We needed somebody who has a bit of rock and roll sensibility in him," Andrew Lloyd Webber explained. "He's got to be a bit rough, a bit dangerous; not a conventional singer. Christine is attracted to the Phantom because he's the right side of danger." Director Joel Schumacher had been impressed with Gerard Butler's performance in Dracula 2000. Prior to his audition, Butler had no professional singing experience and had only taken four voice lessons before singing "The Music of the Night" for Lloyd Webber.
Katie Holmes, who began working with a vocal coach, was the front-runner for Christine Daaé in March 2003. She was later replaced by Anne Hathaway, a classically trained soprano, in 2004. However, Hathaway dropped out of the role because the production schedule of the film overlapped with The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, which she was contractually obligated to make. Hathaway was then replaced with Emmy Rossum. The actress modeled the relationship between the Phantom and Christine after Suzanne Farrell and George Balanchine. Patrick Wilson was cast as Raoul based on his previous Broadway theatre career. For the role of Carlotta, Minnie Driver devised an over-the-top, camp performance as the egotistical prima donna. Despite also lacking singing experience, Ciarán Hinds was cast by Schumacher as Richard Firmin; the two had previously worked together on Veronica Guerin. Ramin Karimloo also briefly appears as the portrait of Gustave Daaé, Christine's father. Karimloo had previous played the lead role as well as the role of Raoul in London's West End. He later reprised the role in the sequel to the original stage musical Love Never Dies, and was also cast as The Phantom for the 25th Anniversary Concert of the musical in October, 2011.
Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to The Phantom of the Opera in early 1989, granting Andrew Lloyd Webber total artistic control. Despite interest from A-list directors, Lloyd Webber and Warner Bros. instantly hired Joel Schumacher to direct; Lloyd Webber had been impressed with Schumacher's use of music in The Lost Boys. The duo wrote the screenplay that same year, while Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman were cast to reprise their roles from the original stage production. Filming was set to begin at Pinewood Studios in England in July 1990, under a $25 million budget.
However, the start date was pushed to November 1990 at both Babelsberg Studios in Munich, Germany and Barrandov Studios in Prague, Czech Republic. Production for The Phantom of the Opera was stalled with Lloyd Webber and Brightman's divorce. "Everything got tied up in settlements", Schumacher reflected. "Then my career took off and I was really busy." As a result, The Phantom of the Opera languished in development limbo for Warner Bros. throughout the 1990s. In February 1997, Schumacher considered returning, but eventually dropped out in favour of Batman Triumphant, Runaway Jury and Dreamgirls. The studio was heavily interested in John Travolta for the lead role, but also held discussions with Antonio Banderas, who undertook vocal preparation and sang the role of the Phantom in the TV special, Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration.
Schumacher and Lloyd Webber restarted development for The Phantom of the Opera in December 2002. It was then announced in January 2003 that Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group had purchased the film rights from Warner Bros. in an attempt to produce The Phantom of the Opera independently. As a result, Lloyd Webber invested $6 million of his own money. The Phantom of the Opera was produced on a $55 million budget. A further $15 million was used for marketing, bringing the final budget to $70 million. Warner Bros. was given a first look deal for distribution; the studio did not sign on until June 2003, when the principal cast was chosen.
Principal photography for Phantom of the Opera lasted from September 15, 2003 to January 15, 2004. The film was shot entirely using eight sound stages at Pinewood Studios, where, on the Pinewood backlot, the bottom half exterior of the Palais Garnier was constructed. The top half was implemented using a combination of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and a scale model created by Cinesite. The surrounding Paris skyline for "All I Ask of You" was entirely composed of matte paintings. Cinesite also created a miniature falling chandelier, since a life-size model was too big for the actual set.
Production designer Anthony D. G. Pratt was influenced by French architect Charle Garnier, designer of the original Paris opera house, as well as Edgar Degas, John Singer Sargent, Gustave Caillebotte, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Schumacher was inspired by Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946), where a hallway is lined with arms holding candelabra. The cemetery was based on the Père Lachaise and Montparnasse. Costume designer Alexandra Byrne utilised a limited black, white, gold and silver colour palette for the Masquerade ball.
Release and awards
The Phantom of the Opera was released in the United States on December 22, 2004. With a limited release of 622 theaters, it opened at tenth place at the weekend box office, grossing $6.5 million across five days. After expanding to 907 screens on January 14, 2005 the film obtained the 9th spot at the box office, which it retained during its 1,511 screens wide release on January 21, 2005. The total domestic gross was $51,225,796. With a further $107 million earned internationally, The Phantom of the Opera reached a worldwide total of $158,225,796. A few foreign markets were particularly successful, such as Japan, where the film's ¥4.20 billion ($35 million) gross stood as the 6th most successful foreign film and 9th overall of the year. The United Kingdom and South Korea both had over $10 million in receipts, with $17.5 million and $11.9 million, respectively.
Anthony Pratt and Celia Bobak were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction, as was John Mathieson for Cinematography. However, both categories were awarded to The Aviator. Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Charles Hart were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Learn to Be Lonely") but lost to "Al otro lado del río" from The Motorcycle Diaries. The song was also nominated for the Golden Globe but it lost to Alfie's "Old Habits Die Hard". In the same ceremony, Emmy Rossum was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, losing to Annette Bening in Being Julia. At the Saturn Awards, Rossum won for Best Performance by a Younger Actor, while The Phantom of the Opera was nominated for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film and Alexandra Byrne was nominated for Costume Design.
The film received generally mixed reviews from film critics. Even though 86% of the general audience liked the film, based on 384,463 audience reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, only 33% of the critics enjoyed The Phantom of the Opera, with an average score of 5/10. "The music of the night has hit something of a sour note: Critics are calling the screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular musical histrionic, boring, and lacking in both romance and danger," the consensus read. "Still, some have praised the film for its sheer spectacle." By comparison, Metacritic calculated an average score of 40/100 from its 39 reviews collected.
|"The film looks and sounds fabulous and I think it's an extraordinarily fine document of the stage show. While it doesn't deviate much from the stage material, the film has given it an even deeper emotional centre. It's not based on the theatre visually or direction-wise, but it's still got exactly the same essence. And that's all I could have ever hoped for."|
|— Andrew Lloyd Webber|
Despite having been impressed with the cast, Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader wrote that "Teen romance and operetta-style singing replace the horror elements familiar to film-goers, and director Joel Schumacher obscures any remnants of classy stage spectacle with the same disco overkill he brought to Batman Forever." Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com believed that Phantom of the Opera "takes everything that's wrong with Broadway and puts it on the big screen in a gaudy splat."
In a mixed review for Newsweek, David Ansen praised Emmy Rossum's performance, but criticised the film makers for their focus on visual design rather than presenting a cohesive storyline. "Its kitschy romanticism bored me on Broadway and it bores me here—I may not be the most reliable witness. Still, I can easily imagine a more dashing, charismatic Phantom than Butler's. Rest assured, however, Lloyd Webber's neo-Puccinian songs are reprised and reprised and reprised until you're guaranteed to go out humming." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly believed Schumacher did not add enough dimension in adapting The Phantom of the Opera. "Schumacher, the man who added nipples to Batman's suit, has staged Phantom chastely, as if his job were to adhere the audience to every note."
Roger Ebert reasoned that "Part of the pleasure of movie-going is pure spectacle—of just sitting there and looking at great stuff and knowing it looks terrific. There wasn't much Schumacher could have done with the story or the music he was handed, but in the areas over which he held sway, he has triumphed." In contrasting between the popularity of the Broadway musical, Michael Dequina of Film Threat magazine explained that "it conjures up this unexplainable spell that leaves audiences sad, sentimental, swooning, smiling—in some way transported and moved. Now, in Schumacher's film, that spell lives on."
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Phantom of the Opera (2004 film)|
- Official website
- The Phantom of the Opera at the Internet Movie Database
- Michael Williams; Benedict Carver (1998-04-05). "Banderas drawn to 'Phantom'". Variety.