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Working Title films is betting the farm on Les Mis

The plot thickens and looks like the stakes are higher for Les Mis than we realized. The film could take down an entire company: LOS ANGELES — Early in the coming movie adaptation of “Les Misérables,” Anne Hathaway and a group of grimy factory workers sing about “another day dawning.” Will it be a better one? Or will their toiling bring “nothing for nothing”? Working Title Films, which co-produced “Les Misérables” with Cameron Mackintosh, is confronting the same questions as it amps up an already aggressive awards campaign for the film. The all-star movie musical could pop at the multiplex, sweep into the Academy Awards and instantly recharge the company, which has had a bumpy few years. Or “Les Misérables” could end up like the 2004 adaptation of “The Phantom of the Opera” — lackluster ticket sales, a few Oscar nominations, no wins. Working Title, based in London, was once one of Hollywood’s most reliable suppliers of classy commercial movies: “Fargo,” “Billy Elliot,” “Elizabeth,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Pride & Prejudice.” But the company, which has 53 Oscar nominations and six wins on its résumé, has lost its way in recent years. It has still delivered the occasional gem — “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” was one — but misses have far outnumbered hits.


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