NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES - Dead. Embalmed. Buried. A year ago, that is what most movie studios would have said about live-action musicals, pointing to a long line of box office calamities: “Rock of Ages,” “Burlesque,” “Jersey Boys,” “Across the Universe,” “Nine."
Cast members in "Across The Universe," Julie Taymor's 2007 movie musical inspired by the music of The Beatles.
The few out-and-out successes in recent decades have been adaptations of Broadway classics (“Les Misérables,” 2012) or marketed in misleading ways. When 20th Century Fox was selling Baz Luhrmann’s hit “Moulin Rouge!” in 2001, the studio was so afraid that people would stay home if they knew it was a musical that the trailer rather awkwardly tried to avoid singing at all costs.
But Hollywood, excited in part by the critical and commercial success of “La La Land,” which cost Lionsgate $30 million to make and has taken in $132 million worldwide as it streaks toward the Academy Awards, is taking out its jazz hands again.