Tonys: Why 4 of Broadway's Best Shows Haven't Been Turned Into Movies Yet
'Hamilton' is just one of several hit productions that haven't made the leap to film.
Over the past 15 years, a number of Broadway musicals have successfully migrated from the stage to screen, ushering in a new era that began with 2002's Oscar best picture winner Chicago. That film, which earned $306.8 million worldwide, was followed by a series of hits including 2012's Les Miserables ($442 million), 2008's Mamma Mia! ($610 million) and 2014's Into the Woods ($213 million). Despite those impressive numbers, some of Broadway's biggest successes of this same time period have yet to make the leap to the big screen. Below are the four that are best poised for the multiplex and their current status.
In the Heights
In 2011, Universal opted not to make Lin-Manuel Miranda’s bodega-set musical and cut the project loose (the studio balked at the Kenny Ortega-helmed film’s $37 million budget). Given the craze surrounding Miranda’s Hamilton, the timing is now optimal for In the Heights to get a second look. Miranda, who is set to produce and possibly star, quietly set up a scrappier version at The Weinstein Co. and is hoping to make it for $15 million. Given the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and Miranda’s newfound star power, the project with the mostly Dominican cast may find greater momentum this time around. Four Tonys, including best musical, shouldn’t go for naught.
After spending seven years developing the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Miranda wants his hip-hop take on the Founding Fathers to run its course on the stage before even thinking about a movie. Sources say Miranda has no plans to negotiate a film rights deal in the near future and would only entertain setting it up at a studio further down the road. If it ever lands at a studio, expect an insanely competitive bake-off for the director gig.
After crossing the $1 billion mark in ticket receipts this year, this 13-year-old spin on The Wizard of Oz still hasn’t reached the big screen. But after languishing for years at Universal, Wicked has been kicked up a notch by the studio and is in active development, with Stephen Daldry directing. Producer Marc Platt, who successfully brought Into the Woods from the stage to the cineplex, is producing, and Winnie Holzman is adapting. Get on with it, Glinda.
The Book of Mormon
Holy holdup. Fans of this religious satire from Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez may be clamoring for a film version of the tale of two earnest missionaries spreading the word of Joseph Smith. After all, this musical won nine Tonys, including the top honor in 2011, and toured nationally from 2012 to 2016 (it will open in Australia in January). But an insider says a big-screen remake is “not happening anytime soon.” There’s no urgency on the part of Parker or Stone, and Lopez is busy working on a Frozen stage adaptation. Producer Scott Rudin has his hands full with such films as the Saoirse Ronan starrer Lady Bird and a new sprawling TV deal at Fox Networks Group.
A version of this story first appeared in the June 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.