Singing along to "Mamma Mia!"

11 Sep – The Malaysian and Singaporean release for this summer's most unexpected hit musical film, "Mamma Mia!", will contain English subtitles for the song scenes, along with the usual Chinese and Malay subtitles.

Cast of "Mamma Mia!" with ABBA – picture courtesy of Daniel Ahs Karlsson

According to film distributor United International Pictures Malaysia, the popular musical, opening on 28 September, will benefit from the inclusion of the subtitles, as they improve the movie experience for those who wish to sing along to the songs. Recent musicals that made theatrical release locally such as Julie Taymor's "Across The Universe" (Beatles songs) and Adam Shankman's "Hairspray" were not furnished with English subtitles.

Featuring 20 odd modified tracks originally sung by 70s pop phenomenon ABBA, "Mamma Mia!" is the very successful movie adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pearce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Amanda Seyfried among others.

"Mamma Mia" hype at GSC Mid Valley
Perish all thoughts of dour dramas though – the film is being marketed in a vibrant "Step Up"-"High School Musical" fashion, skewing towards the younger audience. Arriving more than two months after its U.S. premiere, "Mamma Mia!" is viewed by many industry observers as a commercial surprise that capitalised on the popularity of ABBA songs among older audiences and the marketability of youthful dance-oriented musicals among the younger cinemagoing crowd.

According to Variety, "Mamma Mia!" has topped US $280 million outside the U.S. - more than double its domestic take. "Mamma Mia!" continues to do sensational business overseas, warbling its way into the top weekend slot at the international box office with US $15 million from 3,493 playdates in 39 markets last week. It is currently the third highest grossing musical film in U.S. cinema history behind "Grease" and "Chicago".

"Mamma Mia" opens at cinemas nationwide this 25 September 2008.