Aladdin, The Lion King, In the Heights and West Side Story are all planning big-screen adaptations in the next two years
It’s true that musicals have risen in popularity in recent years, and that Broadway theater attendance is at an all-time high. Movies such as The Greatest Showman, Beauty and the Beast and La La Land are evidence that Hollywood is seeing a growing market for movie musicals, which is good news for live-theatre enthusiasts. We’ll be seeing a lot more movie musicals coming to cinemas the next few years, all of which you can eventually watch from the comfort of your own couch and sing along to without any judgment. Listed below are five upcoming stage-to-screen adaptations of musicals in order of release date:
1. An adaptation of Disney’s beloved musical Aladdin is set to release on May 24, 2019. The initial screenplay for this movie was written by John August and has been further polished by Game of Thrones writer Vanessa Taylor and the director himself, Guy Ritchie. The cast features lesser-known actors Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. Will Smith provides some name recognition as Genie.
2. Continuing their trend of live-action remakes, Disney is also releasing an adaptation of their musical The Lion King, set for release on July 19, 2019. With a screenplay written by Jeff Nathanson, Jon Favreau as director and iconic music written by Elton John, this movie is sure to be hit. It also has an all-star cast with Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar and James Earl Jones as Mufasa.
3. Universal Pictures is currently working on an adaptation of the popular musical Wicked, to be released on December 20, 2019. The screenplay is being written by the writer of the musical’s book, Winnie Holzman. It is also going to be directed by Stephen Daldry who, with Billy Elliot under his belt, already has experience directing movie musicals. While the cast is still unknown, it’s going to feature beloved songs like Popular and For Good. In the meantime, look for the national touring production of Wicked’s eighth visit to Denver next May. Tickets are on sale now.
4. The much anticipated In the Heights movie adaptation is in-production again, this time with Warner Bros. as the production company. The development process for this movie was postponed for a while when Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegrias Hudes regained the rights back from the Weinstein company earlier this year. There is still a long wait for this movie though — it’s not scheduled for release until June 26, 2020. The screenplay is being written by Marc Klein and will be directed by Jon M. Chu.
5. Amblin Entertainment is making a remake of the 1961 film West Side Story that is slated to come out sometime in 2020. While very little is known about this project so far, we do know that Steven Spielberg is the director and Tony Kushner is writing the screenplay. In the meantime, you can enjoy a West Side Story singalong screening of the original film on Monday, Aug. 20, at the Alamo Drafthouse near Sloan’s Lake. A portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit The Denver Actors Fund.
Savannah Nichols is an Arvada native, a graduate of Denver School of the Arts and a summer intern with the DCPA Communications Department. She studies Public Relations at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.