Friday, July 12, 2013

20th Century Fox, other legacy studios invest in stage productions of their important films

The New York Times is reporting, in a story by Brooks Barnes and Patrick Healy on p. B4 (Business) Friday, that 20th Century Fox is working with Kevin McCollum to bring a number of its popular films to the stage. 

Warner Brothers, Sony, Disney and NBC Universal all have stage operations.

A stage production costs less for the studio to produce, even though ticket prices are much higher for consumers, usually.  And copyright and trademark law in the US and Europe seems to protect the studio’ business potential for other adaptations of their films.
The story is here

Fox could also draw on its inventory of Fox Searchlight film (maybe like “Little Miss Sunshine”).
Many plays or stage musicals have gone the other route, and become movies.  That’s going to happen with “Book of Mormon”.  It’s happened with “Rent”, and “Les Miserables”, and I think “Martin Guerre” (I saw it in Minneapolis at the Guthrie Theater—it’s Boublil and Michel-Schoenberg).
The article mentions “9 to 5” and “Damn Yankees”, and "The Lion King".  I’ve seen both films, but not the plays.

Sometimes there are plays about Hollywood personalities, like “Matt and Ben” (Mindy Kaling and Brena Walters) which I saw a few years back on an experimental stage in Adams Morgan in Washington.

Other properties that seem to cross boundaries are “Sister Act” (reviewed Dec. 1, 2011); “Corpus Christi” (Terrence Malick, seen in Minneapolis in 2002), John Logan’s “Never the Sinner” (about the Leopold-Loeb case, seen in Minneapolis), and Moises Kaufman’s “Gross Indencey: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde”;  “The Laramie Project” (Dec. 17, 2010 here), and “33 Variations” (Aug. 26, 2007 here). 

Hollywood has said (as in statements by Stephen Spielberg), that it might make many fewer “serious” blockbusters and might invest in stage-like events (maybe Fathom) that bring much higher ticket prices from affluent consumers. 

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