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Following what is believed to have been a long period of competitive negotiations, the studio has won worldwide distribution rights to the film of the original staged performance of the Tony-winning musical. The pic is set to be released in North America on Oct. 15, 2021.
According to sources familiar with the deal, the studio paid a massive $75 million for the global rights to the finished film, which was live-captured in 2016 when the company that helped build the show remained intact.
Lin-Manuel Miranda will lead the original Broadway cast as Alexander Hamilton, starring alongside Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr; Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton; Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler; Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson; Christopher Jackson as George Washington; Jonathan Groff as King George; Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison; Anthony Ramos as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton; and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds.
The movie is described as “combining the best elements of live theater and film, the result is a cinematic stage performance that is a wholly new way to experience Hamilton.”
Producers for Hamilton, the film of the original Broadway production, include Miranda, Jeffrey Seller and Thomas Kail, who also directs.
“Lin-Manuel Miranda created an unforgettable theater experience and a true cultural phenomenon, and it was for good reason that Hamilton was hailed as an astonishing work of art. All who saw it with the original cast will never forget that singular experience,” Disney chairman Robert Iger said Monday in a statement. “And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this same Broadway experience with millions of people around the world.”
“I fell in love with musical storytelling growing up with the legendary Howard Ashman-Alan Menken Disney collaborations — The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin,” said Miranda, who starred in the studio’s 2018 title Mary Poppins Returns. “I’m so proud of what Tommy Kail has been able to capture in this filmed version of Hamilton — a live theatrical experience that feels just as immediate in your local movie theater. We’re excited to partner with Disney to bring the original Broadway company of Hamilton to the largest audience possible.”
Added Kail: “We are thrilled for fans of the show, and new audiences across the world, to experience what it was like onstage — and in the audience — when we shot this at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016. We wanted to give everyone the same seat, which is what this film can provide.”
Hamilton garnered a Grammy, an Olivier Award and a Pulitzer Prize, along with Tony Awards for Odom, Goldsberry and Diggs, which contributed to a massive sweep of 11 wins out of a record-breaking 16 nominations. The show also won for best musical, with Miranda doubling up on best book and original score; Thomas Kail collecting the honor for direction of a musical; and Andy Blankenbuehler winning for choreography.
Following its rapturously reviewed, sold-out premiere run at off-Broadway’s Public Theater in early 2015, Hamilton began previews at the Rodgers in July 2015 and was a box office sensation even before its official opening on Aug. 6. Now in the fifth year of its Broadway run, ticket demand remains as high as ever, with grosses averaging between $2 million-$3 million a week and average seat price still around $250.
Total Broadway grosses to date for Hamilton stand at $636.5 million, with every performance playing to capacity houses. That figure does not include massive revenues from North American tours and the hit London production.
Producers have often been cautious about selling movie adaptation rights while a Broadway musical continues to play to capacity crowds. Hence the lack of haste from Universal about locking down a big-screen timeline for Wicked, now in its 19th year on Broadway, with multiple road and international companies and global revenues well over $1 billion.
However, Hamilton is a unique property within the Broadway landscape; it revitalized the commercial sector while simultaneously redefining the parameters of musical-theater storytelling. More than any show in decades, it has penetrated beyond the traditional musical core audience into mainstream pop culture to become a legitimate phenomenon destined to influence creative artists for generations to come.
The producing team, which includes Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater, have justifiable confidence that by making a live performance by the original cast available to moviegoers, they will be fueling rather than eating into ticket sales for the live shows.
Currently, the only other film slated for the Oct. 15, 2021, date is Halloween Ends, the third installment in the Blumhouse-produced Halloween franchise reimagining from director David Gordon Green.
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