This Movie Studio thing on Broadway could go two ways.

Anyone else read the NY Times article this past Sunday about the influx of Movie Studios on Broadway?   You know, the one that said Wicked would be Universal’s most successful property . . . ever.   Like it makes ET or Jurassic Park look like a couple of low-budget fringe shows.

This is a subject I’ve been fascinated with, as you may remember from this blog.

I’ve been thinking more and more about this subject lately, and how it directly affects the life of the Independent Producer.  You know, the people like you and me, who look for projects to musicalize or play-ize so that we can entertain people, make money for investors, and, well, eat.

The immigration of the movie studios to our East Coast shores could have one of the biggest impacts on how shows are produced since . . . well . . . since ever.

And it could be great!  And it could be terrible.

Here’s how I see it:

We all know that the movie studio libraries are filled with great potential musicals, with marketable titles.  So, with the new studio set up, if an Independent Producer wants to develop one of those titles into a musical, most likely that studio is going to say . . . “Get lost.  We have our own internal theater office to develop shows for us, so we’re just going to sit on it, like we do with books that we might want to make into a movie someday.”

In that scenario, the Independent Producer could have a very few challenging years ahead, as the amount of source material available to us just got a lot smaller.

And then there’s scenario #2 . . . which is the studios check their egos at the George Washington Bridge and rather than use movie people to produce theater, they create a model similar to what they have in Hollywood.  They hire Producers to produce their titles for them.  That’s right, I mean they pay their salary, their benefits, and their overhead so the Producer has the resources to produce a great show.

Limited upside for the Producer, but guaranteed income, and less downside risk if it flops on its face.

Two scenarios . . . Which one will happen?

Probably a hybrid balance between the two.  Some studios will hire.  Some will do it themselves.

And the Independents that don’t work for studios will just have to look elsewhere for product, which wouldn’t be so bad.

It’s scenarios like this that force Producers to be creative and look in much more interesting places for material than the last David Spade movie.


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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.