Monday, Lin-Manuel Miranda broke the news on Twitter that Disney will release a theatrical film version of the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton” in October 2021. What is significant is: they are not making a Hamilton movie, they are showing a recorded performance of the original cast on stage at the Richard Rogers Theater on Broadway.
Disney reportedly paid $75 million for the rights, likely the most expensive acquisition of a finished film ever.
“Hamilton” has been a success machine since 2015, when the average ticket price topped $1,000 and made it the most expensive Broadway show in history. The show has since opened in other U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago, but most people can’t afford those tickets either. They’ve had to console themselves with YouTube clips, or memorizing the soundtrack (my daughter) and performing whole chunks of it at the top of their lungs with their friends.
I would say the only thing Disney did wrong was not do it sooner.
Now, as Box Office Guru founder Gitesh Pandya says, Disney will get to serve all those people by “bringing it to all 50 states at one time, and at a much lower price point.” The film (2 hours, 40 minutes long) will get a global theatrical release.
And then it will hit Disney’s Disney+ streaming service, where it’s sure to be watched on repeat.
I’ve always wondered why live streamed theatrical events don’t do better at the local cineplex. Now with the Hamilton movie, we’ll get to see whether the pre-recorded kind can do better.