The new Sony film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Miserables made a surprisingly strong showing in its first weekend, taking in over $5 million over the May 1-3 weekend. That box office performance placed it fourth behind Spike Lee’s He Got Game, the Meg Ryan-Nicolas Cage Wings of Desire remake City of Angels, and the action movie The Big Hit. The film stars Liam Neeson (who recently opened on Broadway to rave reviews in David Hare's The Judas Kiss) as Jean Valjean and Geoffrey Rush as Javert, in his first film role since winning an Oscar for Shine. Uma Thurman plays Fantine, Claire Danes is Cosette, and Peter Vaughan appears as the Bishop. Bille August directs.
The movie is the sixth major filming of the Hugo’s work, included a 1935 version starring Charles Laughton and Fredric March, and 1995 French rendition starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.