Musical movies becoming prominent in pop culture

Olivia Synoracki
Staff Writer

Over winter break, the long awaited film starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway finally arrived in theaters. Like many musical films, “Les Miserables” is based on the Broadway show of the same name, which originated from Victor Hugo’s novel that was published in 1862.
Although this story has been produced many times, the 2012 adaption is the first of its kind, bringing the unforgettable music and emotion of the stage production to the screen.

“Les Miserables” is the story about Jean Valjean in 19th century France, who is a criminal trying to turn his life around while being pursued by a ruthless policeman.
“Les Miserables” is the story about Jean Valjean in 19th century France, who is a criminal trying to turn his life around while being pursued by a ruthless policeman.

“Les Miserables” itself is a legendary title, yet that is not the only reason the 2012 film was highly anticipated. Turning a well known and respected Broadway musical into a film is an enormous affair, which is
why a show like “Les Miserables” calls for big names and well known cast members; and so it did, with Jackman and Hathaway leading the way.
Jackman is no stranger to the stage, performing in a handful of Broadway shows throughout the years, including “The Boy from Oz,” and “A Steady Rain,” making him a clear choice for the role of the infamous Jean Valjean. His work has already made a large impression on the public, being nominated and chosen for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) at the Golden Globes, along with nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at the SAG Awards and Best Actor in a Leading Role
for the Academy Awards.
Hathaway received high recognition for her portrayal of Fantine, singing a beautifully moving performance of “I Dreamed a Dream.” Winning the Golden Globe for Best
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, as well as the Actor at the SAG Awards for Outstanding performance by a
Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Hathaway’s chances look good for making a clean sweep at the Oscars.
With such a phenomenal cast, “Les Miserables” has become a huge success.
Opening weekend alone, the film made $27.2 million. Since then, the film has grossed to about $339.9 worldwide, since February 3, 2013. Such an earning has ranked “Les Miserables” as the fourth top musical film to date.
This success is what helps to keep the production of musical films going.

“Chicago” won Best Picture in 2002. The film features Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
“Chicago” won Best Picture in 2002. The film features Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Musical movies have been a part of American society since the 1930s, when films like “The Jazz Singer” and “42nd Street” hit the screen. The success of these films created what is known as the golden age of musical film, from the 1930s to the 1960s. Yet, as the 1970s came around, musical movies took a dive and did not have much popularity until the 2000s. During this time, new musical films were created, such as “Moulin Rouge” and “Across the Universe.” “Moulin Rouge” in particular, received great reception from audiences, enough that it had many nominations for many award shows, including a Best Film nod for the Academy Awards.
Seeing the reaction to Moulin Rouge, other studios realized that musical films were the new ticket to success; and so began an era of Broadway shows coming to life on the screen, such as “Chicago,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “Hairspray.” These films had made quite the
impression on the American public, which is why musical films are still being made today.
Since “Les Miserables” was a big hit, it will be no surprise when more Broadway musical adaptions come to screen.
In fact, both “Wicked” and “Jersey Boys” are in talks right now of becoming musical films in the near future.
With all of these films coming to life, a new golden era might be right around the corner.