The Phantom of the Opera (2004 film)
|The Phantom of the Opera|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joel Schumacher|
|Produced by||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Based on||The Phantom of the Opera
by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux
|Music by||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Edited by||Terry Rawlings|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$154.6 million|
The Phantom of the Opera is a 2004 British-American film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical of the same name, which in turn is based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux. It was produced and co-written by Lloyd Webber and directed by Joel Schumacher. It stars Gerard Butler in the title role, Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé, Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry, Minnie Driver as Carlotta Giudicelli, and Jennifer Ellison as Meg Giry
The film was announced in 1989 but production did not start until 2002 due to Lloyd Webber's divorce and Schumacher's busy career. It was shot entirely at Pinewood Studios, with scenery created with miniatures and computer graphics. Rossum, Wilson, and Driver had singing experience, but Butler had none and so had music lessons. The Phantom of the Opera grossed approximately $154 million worldwide, despite receiving mixed to negative reviews, which praised the visuals and acting but criticized the writing and directing.
In 1919, Paris, the discontinued Paris Opera House hosts an auction to rid themselves of unused props and memorabilia. Amongst many other Parisian folk seeking to collect antics, arrived the aged and disabled Vicomt Raoul de Chagny. As he enters to participate in the auction with a nun pushing his wheelchair, he stations himself before the auctioneer, who had currently sold an item, and he notices an old woman dressed in black who was observing him heedfully. It was Madame Giry. The auctioneer presents a papier mache musical box in the shape of a barrel-organ, attached, the figure of a monkey in Persian robes playing the cymbals. The auctioneer's assistant proves the music-box can still play, and the auctioneer commences the bid at fifteen francs. A man volunteers twenty, and Madame Giry twenty five. The nun, after having conspired briefly with Raoul, volunteers thirty. Madame Giry surrenders the bid, and the box is sold to the Vicomt de Chagny. He examines it attentively, and confirms every detail is exactly as it was described to him earlier. The auctioneer continues to mentioning a chandelier in pieces, that was covered by a white clothe behind the spectators. He explains that the chandelier figured in the strange affair of the "Phantom of the Opera," and was the actual chandelier which figured in the famous disaster. Their workshops have repaired, while some of the pieces were being used for the new electric light. He orders the workmen to light it, and the chandelier bursts with lights and sparks as it rises in the air and the Opera goes back time to 1870, when it was still functioning.
A rehearsal for the production "Hannibal" is underway, when Monsieur le Fevre announces his resigning as manager, and he introduces the two new men who now own the Opera Populaire, Monsieur Richard Fiermer, and Monsieur Gil Andre. The new managers introduce their new Patron, the Vicomt Raoul de Chagny. Christine Daae, a chorus girl and ballerina, recognizes Raoul as her childhood sweetheart, but she knows she doesn't remember her. Signora Carlotta Guidicelli, their leading soprano, is outraged at the poor dancing and she threatens to quit when the managers catch up to her and offer her a part for Elisa in Act III of Hannibal. She commands to sing the part, and her managers hear her as she sings the song, "Think of Me." While she sings, a backdrop falls over her and she and the managers panic. Meg Giry, Madame Giry's daughter, claims the Phantom of the Opera was the person to blame for the mysterious catastrophe. Joseph Buquet, the chief-scene-shifter, was drinking beer and didn't see what had happened, so he blames the ghost as well. Carlotta complains that these strange things have been happening for three years and no one has done anything about it, so she quits and leaves the Opera with her assistants. Madame Giry finds a message from the Opera Ghost, saying he welcomes them to his Opera House, and commands they continue to leave Box Five empty for his use, and reminds them that his salary is due. The managers are offended by his audacity. The managers are left in disbelief and they don't know what to do because there is no understudy for La Carlotta. As they platicate over having to refund a fullhouse, Madame Giry volunteers Christine Daae to sing the part in Carlotta's place. She says Christine has been taking lessons from a good teacher, but Christine doesn't know his name. They are not convinced, but they allow her to try, and she ends up performing the part that night at the gala. While she sings, Raoul recognizes her and runs down to see her.
Meg cannot find Christine anywhere after her triumphant performance, but finally locates her lighting candles in the chapel. A voice from above congratulates her on her stunning performance. Meg runs in and asks Christine who her tutor is. Christine explains to Meg before her father died he promised to send her the Angel of Music from heaven, and that this angel is now her tutor who calls to her softly and teaches her to sing. Meg thinks Christine has gone mad, and she tries to show Christine that that cannot be true, but Christine ignores her and they call upon the angel to show himself.
Raoul goes to see Christine and they reunite in her dressing-room. He invites her to dinner, but she says the Angel of Music is very strict, and that he will not allow her to leave. He ignores her warning and gives her two minutes to change while he loads on his carriage. A mysterious gloved hand locks the door of her dressing-room once Raoul leaves, and Madame Giry watches this happen. All of the candles in the Opera are blown off at once and the voice calls to Christine. She is frightened. He tells her how Raoul is an insolent boy and a slave of fashion, who basking in her glory, and how he is an ignorant fool and a brave young suitor who was to share in his triumph. She assures him she can hear him and begs his forgiveness for being weak, and asks him to enter at last. He tells her to look in the mirror, and that he is there inside it. She sees the outline of a man and a white mask, and begins to walk towards it, amazed. He hypnotizes her to come to the mirror, and takes her inside with him. Raoul comes to check on Christine and hears the strange voice in her dressing-room, but he can't open the door because its locked. The masked man takes her down to the cellars, where he lives in a giant cavern with a large organ. He tells her he brought her to the seat of sweet music's throne, to a kingdom where all must pay homage to music, and that since the moment he first heard her sing, he has needed her with him to serve him and to sing for his music. He tours her through his home, singing the song "The Music of the Night," trying to convince her of the privileges of living with him in a world of darkness and music. He shows her a wax model replica he made of her in a wedding gown, and she faints. He carries her to a bed and lays her, and says that she alone can make his song take flight, and to help him make the music of the night.
Meg peeks into Christine's dressing-room and sees it's empty, and notices the mirror has been half-slid open like a door, so she goes inside and follows down a dark hallway. Just then, she is startled my her mother, Madame Giry, who takes her outside again.
Joseph Buquet is telling the ballerina's a scary story about the Opera ghost and that his skin in like yellow parchment, and a big black hole serves as the nose that never grew. He warns them they should be always on their guard, or he will catch them, with his magical lasso. He takes out a rope and lassos a ballerina, but Madame Giry saves her and slaps Joseph across the face, and warns him he should remain silent about whatever he knows, or he will pay dearly.
Christine awakens to the rhythm of a musical box in the shape of a barrel organ with a monkey in Persian robes attached to it playing the cymbals. She says she remembers there was swirling mist upon a vast glassy lake, and that there were candles all around and on the lake there was a boat, and that in the boat there was a man. She sees the masked man playing his organ and writing music, and she wonders who was that shape in the shadows, and whose is that face in the mask. She acts as if she were going to kiss him, and unmasks him instead. He shoves her back and curses her name as he rises in rage and covers his face. He explains that now she cannot ever be freed since she saw his ugly and deformed face, and how he burns in hell but secretly dreams of beauty. She is ashamed and filled with pity for him, so she hands him back his mask and he takes her back to the Opera.
The managers are upset because the ghost sent them notes warning them to be careful and to obey his words. Raoul openly confronts the two gentlemen for having kidnapped Christine and sending him a note saying to make no attempt to see her again. They deny it, and they conclude the Phantom has written it. Carlotta shows up with a note stating she will be replaced by Christine and accuses Raoul of sending it to her since he is Christine's lover. As they quarrel, Madame Giry appears with Meg and notifies them Miss Daae has returned, but she will see no one. Madame Giry also brings a note from the ghost, that says that Christine will be playing the Countess in a production of Il Muto, and Carlotta will be playing the silent pageboy. They ignore the Phantom and convince Carlotta to sing for them, and they give her the part of the Countess and Christine the part of the pageboy.
Carlotta performs the Countess part that night in a new production of Il Muto, and Christine plays the belittling pageboy. The Phantom finds out and is furious to discover Raoul is seating in Box Five. He interrupts the gala to ask if he did not instruct that Box Five was to be kept empty. Christine says, "It's him," and Carlotta calls her a toad and tells her her part is silent. The Phantom is offended by Carlotta's insult, and replaces her breath enhancer with a strange liquid. When she starts singing again she starts to make wierd sounds that cause panic throughout the Opera. She storms off stage in embarrassment and the managers agree Christine should play the part of the Countess. While they entertain the audience with a ballet performance, the Phantom chokes Joseph Buquet and hangs him in front of the stage, and all the ballet girls are thrown into a panic. Every one starts to leave the Opera in fright and horror. Christine takes Raoul to the roof of the Opera where she thinks they are safe.
They declare their love for each other without knowing that the Phantom was hiding behind
- Gerard Butler as The Phantom
- Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé
- Patrick Wilson as Viscount Raoul de Chagny
- Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry
- Minnie Driver as Carlotta Giudicelli
- Margaret Preece as Carlotta's singing voice
- Simon Callow as Gilles André
- Ciarán Hinds as Richard Firmin
- 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
- Ramin Karimloo as Gustave Daaé
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 Unchained, Runaway Jury and Dreamgirls. The studio was keen to cast 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.
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 later played the Phantom as well as the role of Raoul on London's West End.
Principal photography lasted from 15 September 2003 to 15 January 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 Charles 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 22 December 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 14 January 2005 the film obtained the 9th spot at the box office, which it retained during its 1,511 screens wide release on 21 January 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 soundtrack of the film was released in two separate CD formats on 23 November 2004 as a two-disc deluxe edition which includes dialogue from the film and a single-disc highlights edition.
The film had its initial North America video release on DVD and VHS on 3 May 2005, following its first digital release on HD-DVD on 18 April 2006 and a Blu-ray edition on 31 October 2006.
The film received mixed to negative reviews from film critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 32% rotten 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 Rossum's performance, but criticized the filmmakers 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."
Despite somewhat negative critic reviews, the film has been positively received by fans, and has an unusually high 7.3 user rating on IMDB, and a 4.7 user rating on Google Play.
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