3 Reasons Why The Hamilton Movie is Great for Broadway.
There was big news to begin this week, and it was broken by the maestro himself. In case you missed it, here’s what Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted on Monday:
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) February 3, 2020
With just those few fragmented sentences, the internet blew up as more specifics about the all-out war for the rights emerged. Disney won the bloody battle, and it only cost them . . . “wait for it” . . . $75mm.
Before you start trying to figure out how much Lin-Manuel will make on that payout or what the Broadway Investors will earn, let’s look at the macro of it all first.
Because this deal is one of the most significant things to happen to Broadway since . . . well . . . Hamilton itself.
And here are just three reasons why this mega Hamilton movie deal is grrrrrrrreat for all of Broadway, not just those folks who get a piece of that $75mm pie:
- The story and therefore stories go on. The commercial and artistic success of Hamilton was a lightning rod of attention from theatergoers and media outlets all over the world. I remember before and after it opened, seeing article after article in every publication I read or every show I watched. I even think they mentioned the show in Golf Digest! One reporter told me, “We just keep writing Hamilton articles because that’s all anyone wants to read!” That kind of focus on a show puts a focus on Broadway overall. Hamilton made our industry very cool.And just when the stories had cooled in the other direction, here comes this even bigger one. And just wait until the movie is released in 2021!The Producers and Creators could easily have waited another decade to release the film (like when they wanted a steroid shot to their box office since we have data that film releases always boost box office grosses). By getting it in movie theaters early, they will keep the spotlight on the show (of course), but on all of us at the same time. So tip your revolutionary hat to ’em.
- They ARE giving away their shot . . . or WHAT they shot! Disney isn’t making a new movie. They are taking what was already shot early in the run with that amazing original cast! Yes, the Producers had the foresight to put it down on film in case they wanted to, oh I don’t know, sell it for $75mm someday!!! (Side note – the $75mm purchase price makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it . . . because Disney could have easily spent $100mm to make the film. This way they’re getting one already in the can!)What this is going to demonstrate is that there is tremendous value in putting our content down on video for later downstream revenue. Currently, not every show can afford to do this, but the success of Hamilton will hopefully get all the parties to the table to find a way to record ALL shows for future use. Actors, Investors, Stagehands . . .and Audiences . . . can all benefit.
- About that $75mm. Let’s talk about that elephant-sized load of cash in the room. $75mm looks like it is the biggest film acquisition deal . . . in the history of the world! And you know what got Disney to pony up that kind of cash? Not Star Wars. Not Avatar. But a musical. A Broadway freakin’ musical.Once again, this deal proves that Broadway isn’t just big business . . . it just might be the biggest business in the entertainment medium . . . because it has the most upside. Our stars may not have as many Insta followers as an actor in the latest Marvel movie . . . but the fact is, there’s a lot of money to be made here. And this deal proves it.And when deals like this are announced in any industry, more money flocks to said industry. Companies, Investors, Artists, etc. will all be trying to find the next Hamilton. And hopefully this influx of resources and talent will allow our industry to take even greater risks and create even greater art. And maybe sell it for $80mm.BONUS! Here’s a 4th reason why this deal is aw-aw-awesome for everyone.
- Everyone will get to see it. Hamilton is the Cartier or Tiffany’s of Broadway musicals. Not everyone can afford to see it. But now they can. This movie will educate and inspire a whole new generation of artists and theatergoers to get involved with the arts . . . and especially a diverse generation. In fact, this movie could be the greatest tool we have to diversify the theater in the next decade.
You looking forward to the Hamilton movie? Do you think it’s good for Broadway? Comment below.
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If you’re interested in learning how that $75mm trickles down to its Broadway Investors, click here to learn how the money from these kinds of deals flows.
Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.