Les Miserables tops UK box office chart

Anne Hathaway (centre) with others in a scene from Les Miserables Hathaway (centre) plays Fantine in Les Miserables, a single mother who falls on hard times

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The Les Miserables film had box office tills singing a happy tune over the weekend, recording three-day takings of £8.13 million in the UK and Ireland.

Tom Hooper's adaptation of the popular stage hit enjoyed the biggest ever UK opening for a movie musical, beating a record set by Mamma Mia! in 2008.

The Abba-based stage-to-screen transfer took £5.2m in its opening weekend, with an extra £1.4m coming from previews.

Internationally, Les Miserables has now taken more than $200m (£124.6m).

"It's fantastic to see Les Miserables become the top-grossing film at the UK box office," said Eric Fellner, of film company Working Title.

"We're incredibly proud that this film, like the stage play, is proving to be a truly global phenomenon."

Life of Pi, Ang Lee's 3D film of the Yann Martel novel, climbed one place to two, its weekend tally of £2.34m taking its overall UK and Ireland haul to almost £22m.

Its takings exceeded those of crime caper Gangster Squad, a new entry at three with takings of £2.09m that included receipts from one day of previews.

Last week's top movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, fell to four having sold £1.86m worth of tickets between Friday and Sunday.

Les Miserables, however, has some way to go before rivalling the fantasy epic's total takings in the UK and Ireland, which currently stand at more than £48m.

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, Les Mis was named best musical or comedy at this weekend's Golden Globes, winning additional accolades for cast members Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.

Last week it was nominated for nine Baftas and eight Academy Awards.

Rounding out the top five films at the UK and Ireland box office was the tsunami-drama The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, which took £1.86m in its second week of release.

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