After the success of ‘Hamilton,’ are musicals the remedy to Hollywood’s pandemic woes?

Lin-Manuel Miranda from ‘Hamilton’ performs during the American Theatre Wing’s 70th annual Tony Awards in New York, US, June 12, 2016. — Reuters pic
Lin-Manuel Miranda from ‘Hamilton’ performs during the American Theatre Wing’s 70th annual Tony Awards in New York, US, June 12, 2016. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, July 28 — The success of Hamilton on Disney+ has encouraged American movie studios to launch several new projects mingling music and cinema. From Paramount to Universal and Netflix to Disney, industry giants are betting on “feel-good” movies. Could this be the solution to the crisis in Hollywood?

Mamma Mia!, La La Land, A Star is Born... musical films are hotter than ever. In recent years, musicals have been a good bet in Hollywood, with the exception of Cats, the adaptation of the popular Broadway musical comedy which flopped in theatres in 2019.

But that was the exception that proves the rule. Viewers’ appetite for musicals is real. The latest proof of this is the live film recording of Broadway musical Hamilton on Disney+. The American studio had announced its release on the big screen for October 2021, but changed its plans due to the ongoing pandemic. The musical thus appeared on the Disney+ platform on July 3.

This turned out to be an excellent idea, as in only two days, between July 3-5, the Disney+ application was downloaded more than 500,000 times worldwide, an increase of 47 per cent from the weekends of June 2020, according to Apptopia. In the United States, this increase was even more spectacular, hitting 72 percent with more than 266,000 downloads — a clear success for Disney.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new musical project

This success is reassuring to American studios like Paramount, which recently undertook development of a prequel to Grease. Announced in 2019, the project has finally found a director, Brett Haley.

The film will be titled Summer Lovin’ and will recount the famous holiday love affair between Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson. Like Hamilton, the film will be adapted in a modern way, according to the future director. 

Over at Universal, all eyes are on stage actress Cynthia Erivo, who stars as Aretha Franklin in the third season of Genius. Erivo, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Harriet, was recently cast in Talent Show, a musical drama co-written by Lena Waithe.

After Hamilton, Disney is working on a new musical film with Bruno Mars. It is also slated to release a highly anticipated new version of West Side Story this December, directed by Steven Spielberg.

As for Hamilton star and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, he’s hard at work on his first feature-length movie, Tick Tock Boom, adapted from the musical comedy of the same name for Netflix. Filming was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. — AFP-Relaxnews

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