‘Hamilton’ May Be Headed to the Movies


Ben Fritz:

Hollywood studios are currently bidding for the big-screen rights to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton, according to people involved in sales talks. But in an unusual twist, the “Hamilton” movie won’t be a filmed adaptation. Instead, it is a recording of the show made in 2016 with its original cast, including Mr. Miranda in the lead role.

That's rather ingenious -- especially when you consider that bidding is likely to eclipse $50 million for something they were already doing and is already done. Plus, as someone who saw it both with the original cast and a newer cast, this is worth quite a bit.

Netflix recently bought the rights to stream a recorded version of Bruce Springsteen’s one-man Broadway show for more than $20 million, said people with knowledge of that deal. It is also a potential bidder for “Hamilton,” one of those people said. If the subscription-video company is successful, the show would likely play in few, if any, theaters.
Sellers are asking that the “Hamilton” recording not play in theaters, or stream, until 2020 or 2021, some of the people close to the deal talks said, giving the show at least two more years during which it can only be seen on stage.

Also a savvy move, but that's a long time. Mainly, I'm fascinated to see how this turns out -- I imagine this will be a massive hit -- as the budget is basically nothing, since again, it's already in the can. That said, as someone who has seen a lot of plays in recent years, I've long been thinking about the difference between that format and film in the back of my head. While both are obviously centered around acting, it's just a very different medium. And I wonder how well it can actually translate to the screen...

Admittedly, I'm also a little bummed there will be no "real" movie, but the odds of that being a disappointment were always fairly high. And they can always do that later, if they really want...


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