Based, no doubt, on the phenomenal international success of "Mamma Mia," Universal Studios and producer Marc Platt have announced prospective plans to bring Wicked to the silver screen. There have also been rumors floating around of film versions of both In the Heights and Spring Awakening. Apparently no less a personage than Jennifer Lopez (or, as Eric Cartman would say, "HAY-nee-fer LOH-pay") is interested in In the Heights. (Will she want to actually appear in the movie? If so, will she play the sexy Vanessa? The brassy, sassy Daniela? Perhaps a youthful Abuela Claudia?)
Those movies all make a certain amount of sense. Wicked is a ginormous international phenomenon, so a movie was more or less inevitable, and while In the Heights and Spring Awakening aren't quite in the same league, at least financially, they both represent opportunities to attract younger audiences with scores that are a little more in a modern idiom than those of most movie musicals past.
And then there's Rock of Ages, the modest, fun, and surprisingly sweet tuner that's currently playing Off Broadway. (Read my review.) The movie will be produced by New Line Cinema, which is also developing a sequel to its megahit film version of "Hairspray." Apparently, Rock of Ages librettist, one Chris D'Arienzo, will not only pen the screenplay but also direct the film.
Although a film version of Rock of Ages probably won't have the same branded name-recognition as the aforementioned shows, it comes with a sort of built-in fan base for the its songs, which include hits from such 1980s icons as Loverboy, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, and Journey. No word yet on whether star Constantine Maroulis will make the jump to the silver screen, although since he was involved in putting the show together, there's a least a distinct possibility.
BTW, speaking of "Mamma Mia," based on my scathing review of same, a number of people have commented to me that the movie has brought in more than a half a billion dollars, so I guess that means that I must be wrong or something. Um...since when have box office receipts had ANYthing to do with the inherent quality of a film? I'm not saying that my view is the last word on the subject. I'm just saying that I hated, Hated, HATED that movie. The critical response to "Mamma Mia" was admittedly mixed, but I'm certainly not the only reviewer to find the movie execrable. Feel free to buy the upcoming DVD release, take it home, make it your own...heck, marry the damn thing if you like. Just don't expect me to follow suit. I'm just hoping Rob Marshall's upcoming move version of "Nine" can help restore my faith in the genre.