The Phantom of the Opera
One of the most popular stage musicals in the history of Broadway and London's West End makes its long-awaited arrival on the motion-picture screen in this lavish adaptation directed by Joel Schumacher. Christine (Emmy Rossum) is a beautiful and gifted young woman who longs to join the company of the Paris Opera House. During rehearsals for one of the opera's grand productions, a backdrop falls and crashes to the floor, nearly crushing leading lady Carlotta (Minnie Driver). When several members of the company suggest this could be the work of the "Phantom of the Opera", a spectral presence said to haunt the building, Carlotta drops out of the show, and the fates permit Christine to step in as her replacement. Christine's performance is a triumph, and on opening night she becomes reacquainted with Raoul (Patrick Wilson), a former childhood friend who is now a wealthy and well-known nobleman. Christine soon finds herself smitten with the handsome Raoul, but the same evening she makes a startling discovery -- the story of the Phantom is not just a legend. A brilliant but horribly disfigured composer (Gerard Butler) lives deep in the depths of the opera house, and taken with the beauty of Christine's voice, he abducts her and brings her to his lair, where he offers to help her perfect her talents, offering to write an opera especially for her. As the terrified Christine is comforted by Raoul, the two fall in love, but the phantom sees her affection for Raoul as a tremendous betrayal, and the jealous phantom nearly kills Christine as he nearly killed Carlotta. When the phantom emerges to present the opera's management with the piece he has written for Christine, the singer is asked to put her life on the line in an effort to capture the mad genius once and for all. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version of Gaston Leroux's novel, which had already enjoyed several stage and screen adaptations in the past, opened in London in 1986 and has been a popular favorite around the world ever since; the show was still running in New York and London when the film version premiered in late 2004.