I am really looking forward to July 3rd.
I loved this piece in the Times about how Hamilton has made it to Disney+, a full 14 months before it was originally scheduled for theatrical release. Here’s director (stage & film) Thomas Kail:
“I didn’t want to pretend we weren’t in the theater,” he said. “That’s why you hear the audience and see the audience a little bit. I wanted to create a document that could feel like what it was to be in the theater at that time.”
I was lucky enough to see Hamilton in person once it made it to San Francisco. There was something truly magical about being in the room where it happened; a sold out theater filled with people buzzing before the lights dim¹, awe-struck during intermission, wiping away tears on the way out. I can’t wait to see how Kail brings that energy to the flatscreen.
The desire to deliver that live(ish?) experience makes some of the deal details reported in the Times story interesting. The film reportedly cost $10 million to make and sold to Disney for $75 million…but the deal’s been “adjusted” (presumably down) because of the lack of a theatrical release.
As for “Hamilton,” there is some financial downside. Iger said the initial deal has been “adjusted” to reflect the lack of a theatrical release. [Producer Jeffrey] Seller declined to discuss details, but said he thinks that the film will further whet the appetite for the stage productions. “I’ve looked at the effects of audiovisual performances on live theater over the last 20 years, and they’ve all been positive,” he said. “It’s a calculated risk, but I believe it’s going to help.”
Like all of us, I can’t fucking wait to be able to do things like see a show. In a crowded room, with a bunch of enthusiastic people, experiencing something truly magical together. The A1 headline today in the Times, How the Virus Won, doesn’t give me hope that it will be any time soon. Which makes Seller’s “calculated risk” (presumably made sometime back in early May?) much more risky. Will the #hamilfilm buzz this summer translate to incremental ticket sales when theaters reopen…in 2021? Or 2022?
¹ Even Larry David. Here he is, across the aisle from me right before the show started. I swear.