How is it that Phantom of the Opera is the most financially successful entertainment event ever?

Gone with the wind is supposedly 1.68 billion adjusted for inflation. If done properly, that would be adjusting correctly for all the various re-releases it went through.

The Phantom quote was not adjusted for inflation. So it’s even likely higher taking into account inflation that what I put in my OP.

Whoa! That’s a chunk of change. Thanx for the answer.

(Actually, I meant for both)

I remember we watched the movie in 6th grade (this would be in the early 90s) and played the music in band - maybe a few times, in different grades and in concert and marching band. I’m sure the choirs sang it as much as we played it, as well as the show choir.

My brother’s class went (as a band) to see it in Toronto. Almost everyone I knew saw it when it came to Cleveland, or went to Toronto to see it.

We also went to NYC (as a band) and saw Les Mis off Broadway. But we never played the music, or even read the story in any classes.

I go for accessibility too. Easy to expose young kids to it, who grow up to be adults who see it 17 times and collect all the recordings.

Plus aren’t there, like, 4 characters in The Phantom? When I think of Les Mis I think of hoards of people and a big fat book. Yawn.

I am mystified by the success of Phantom.

Yes, I actually went to see the Las Vegas production and it was - OK.

However, there were people in the audience who had seen the show in almost every city on earth and actually flew to LV to see this production.

My problem is I pretty much hate ALL musicals by Andrew L. Weber…to me it sounds like the same song in every show sung over and over and over again. I was pretty much forced to go see CATS several times (a friend was starring in it) and loathed that show from the first time I had to sit through it.

But my own theory about why it is such a huge hit:

  • Typical love story of two opposites and the dark and dangerous man.
  • Clever special effects that entertain even those who were schlepped to the theater in protest.
  • Pretty simple plot and few characters, so easy to follow for people who might not normally like Broadway musicals.
  • And the hype - when it first opened, it was the “hot” ticket and got great word of mouth.

So I am for sure in the minority for not liking the show all that much, but compared to that wretched mess called CATS, it was great.

The silent film? Because the movie of the ALW stage musical came out in 2004.

Didn’t say it was the ALW stage version. Looks like it was the 1989 movie of the book. Would have been in 1993.

My wife and I I saw an excellent performance in Montreal. A few years later, my then-ten year old daughter went to see it in Boston. We made an event of it – she got dressed up, I wore a suit, we went to a very nice restaurant first – and had a great time. It was the last week of the run, and the Phantom – the second understudy – kind of lurched around the stage, but my daughter loved it.

Have you read Susan Kay’s Phantom? It fills in Erik’s childhood and back story, makes him a more fleshed out character and definitely hits on the “bad guy” romance angle - even gets disturbingly Freudian in depicting Erik’s relationships with his mother and Christine. It’s basically fan fiction but better written than most. Anyway, that was the book that really got me into Phantom of the Opera when I was a teenager, so I very much agree with the Twilight comparison.

Does the falling chandelier figure in the show, and if so, how do they pull it off?

When I saw it years ago in K.C. the chandelier was on the stage during the prologue, then lit up and was pulled up to the ceiling above the fourth or fifth row, it seemed to be held up by two ropes, one above the stage and one above the audience. At the end of the first act it dropped straight down for a couple of feet then swung back toward the stage.

For a moment it looked like it was really going to drop on the front few rows of audience.

In the current production, it’s on the ceiling covered in dusty looking cloth for the auction, and the fabric, several triangular pieces held by some sort of clip at one point at the bottom, whisks away at the “Perhaps we can frighten away the ghost of so many years ago with a little ILLUMINATION, Gentlemen!” Then it lights up all twinkly and dramatic as the DUNNNNN! DUNDUNDUNDUNDUNNNNNNNN (dun dun)… chords start.

Before the fall, when the Phantom yells, “She’s singing to bring down the chandelier!” (which is NOT when the chandelier falls, and never was), the chandelier starts to sway, and then it settles down to stillness again (leading newbies to believe that was the end of that). Several minutes later, it does indeed plunge to the audience, although it stops, I dunno, maybe 15 feet up. Being right underneath it, though, I admit I did cringe, even though I knew it would stop in time. :smiley:

This post has links to highly unauthorized pictures I took - not during the show, 'cause I’m not an asshole, but before the show started and then at intermission, before they pulled the chandelier back up.

In the original staging and some of the touring sites after, it would plunge towards the audience, and then veer at the last minute to the stage, where it would land and break apart into several pieces. That’s not practical or safe in all touring sites where your theaters are going to be different and may not have the right kind of rigging set up.

That’s what we saw. When they pulled it back up during intermission it was kind of anticlimactic after how it got up the first time and how it came down.

At the beginning it was lying in a heap on the stage covered with a drop cloth. They pulled the cloth off while the auctioneer described it, it lit up on cue, then it jumped up and seemed to dance just above the stage floor for a few seconds before it shot up to the ceiling above the audience.

In the 25th anniversary show the chandelier didn’t drop at all, just sort of exploded in place. Disappointing, but I suppose they couldn’t rig the full effect in the Royal Albert Hall for just one showing.

i’m not such a purist that i can’t accept any kind of change (for example, in the 2004 movie based on the musical, they move the chandelier crash to the film’s climax, which i thought made a lot of sense), but this is kind of disappointing. it doesn’t seem like it’d be the same without watching the chandelier rise above the stage. although, i have seen videos of the prologue for the vegas show where it assembles mid air, and that looked pretty cool.

There’s the source of your confusion. Go see it live and you’ll understand the mass appeal. Les Mis is caviar to Phantom’s junk food, but Phantom is the best damn junkfood you will ever eat.

If you can’t see it live, get the 25th anniversary DVD. Filmed at the Royal Albert Hall, and it is perfection.


i am so excited. it’s coming in december!!! whee!

Just watched this last night with my 9 year old. Want to know which of the million dollar special effects impressed her? The player piano. :smiley:


I have a question - when they say it’s the most successful entertainment event ever, how do they define “entertainment”? I interpreted it at first as including all of the arts - literature, music, drama, visual art - which is pretty mind blowing. But they might mean only musicals, which would make more sense (although it’s still a huge achievement, of course).

:D:D:D:D I’m going to break 20 viewings! (maybe. at least 18 and 19, I’ll probably see it twice)

is it really better than the original version? we don’t get to see the chandelier go up, right?