Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 1:34PM
IGN is a really good place to get your movie news, I must say. They have their own stories and they're really good about wading through the mountains of industry headlines to find interesting ones, and that's the case here with a story they plucked from Variety. (I do wish they'd link to the story on Variety, because that site's internal search is a complete goddamn waste of time). Because great things are expected out of Mamma Mia! (we may not see those results initially, but this thing will be in theaters around the world clear through Labor Day), Universal is skimming the cream of Broadway again, reaching a deal to bring Wicked to theaters. Talk about a movie that'll make a lot of money... The musical has been an enormous hit, it's based on a very popular book, and with musicals suddenly getting as much play as comic book movies - and wouldn't be something to counterprogram every superhero movie with a musical, like they're doing this week? - I'm frankly very surprised that this one hasn't already happened. In a way, though, that's a good thing, because it allows everybody to get their ducks in a row; after all, nobody wants a repeat of The Producers, now do they? In fact, it appears that Universal has held the rights to the musical for a decade, which shows tremendous foresight, because musicals have only been in vogue again for about five years. So why the delay? Universal honcho Donna Langley says, "Our goal now is absolutely to make the Wicked film, but much like Judy Craymer wouldn't give up screen rights to Mamma Mia! until the stage show had reached its pinnacle, Marc and Stephen Schwartz are very mindful of the right timing. But we're dying to do it." And if you look at the recent headlines that indicate Mamma Mia! performances are once again enjoying brisk business in advance of the release of the film adaptation, what Donna Langley really means is, "this way, everyone gets richer." Though we don't have such details yet, it's completely logical to let Kristin Chenoweth reprise her role as Glinda, The Good Witch of the North. She knows the part, she's a great singer, she's very photogenic, and her TV and movie career is slowly building some momentum. We also went to the same high school, so that's my trivia for the day. I suppose you could cast Idina Menzel as the Wicked Witch of the West, since she originated that role on Broadway, although cynically, I think the studio would want a bigger name star in that very showy role. There's no release date yet, but we'll keep you posted.