What is the success rate of movies-to-musicals anyway?
I’m going to admit it.
Not only do I read Michael Riedel’s twice-a-week Broadway gossip column in the NY Post, but I actually enjoy his stuff . . . even when he’s cracking on one of my shows, and he certainly has. Deep down the guy loves theater, like all of us, and frankly, some of his columns have been a lot more enjoyable to read than a whole bunch of shows I’ve seen over the years.
In last week’s column, Michael wrote something that made me want to dig a bit deeper. While slamming Sister Act before it has even gotten to our shores, he said . . .
This is yet another one of those screen retreads that, with few exceptions (“Hairspray,” “The Producers”), have been draining the joy out of musical comedy.
When I read it, I nodded in agreement. I think all of us feel that movies-turned-musicals are a more miss than hit business, right?
But let’s go to the numbers.
By my count, I’ve got 21 movie-to-musicals in the last 10 years.
And I’m also counting that 7 of them made money.
That’s a 1 in 3 recoupment ratio, which easily trumps the anecdotal average of 1 in 5 that we all quote.
Not so bad, right? All of a sudden a whole bunch of you when straight to your Netflix account to see what you could turn into a musical, didn’t you?
Well, it gets better.
When you look at the number of those shows that might not have recouped on Broadway, but ran over a year (thus increasing potential subsidiary life, etc.), the number jumps to 14 out of 21.
Now Michael wasn’t talking commercial success . . . he was talking about his own definition of joy. And, frankly, I know exactly what he’s talking about.
But from an investor’s perspective (and an audience’s as well, since longer running shows means more folks are seeing them), there has been more joy than we may want to admit.
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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.