Posted on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 by Germain Lussier
One of the biggest and most celebrated Broadway musicals of the past decade is finally coming to the big screen. The film rights to the Tony award winning Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons have just been purchased in an auction that was rumored to have included Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks, Tom Hanks at Playtone, Warner Brothers and Fox. None of them won, however. The rights were actually sold for a reported “substantial seven figures” to Graham King and GK Films who just released The Town and has an impressive slate of films coming up including The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese’s latest Hugo Cabaret, the Gore Verbinski film Rango and others.
Jersey Boys is based on the real life rags to riches story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons who went from the street corners for New Jersey to massive musical success with songs such as Oh What A Night, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Rag Doll, Sherry, and Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You. Hit the jump for more on the deal, the musical and even a video.
Jersey Boys is one of the most successful shows still running on Broadway. It opened in 2005 and has sold over $1 billion in tickets not only in New York, but all over the world. The show’s success is partially because of its relatable, inspiring story of working hard and fulfilling your dreams but more so because it’s the rare musical where almost everyone who sees it knows all the songs before stepping in to the theater. Below is an example of what the show is like. Notice the awesome way it incorporates live performance and what it would have been like to experience this moment as an audience member on TV. I love this show.
The film version will be written by the same people who wrote the book (basically the script) for the musical, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Musicals have become hot properties ever since Mamma Mia made $600 million worldwide with versions of Wicked, In the Heights and others are all in development. But Jersey Boys is easily the most commercial out of the bunch, at least according to the man who bought the rights. “Jersey Boys is one of the most electrifying stage shows any of us has ever seen and it has all the ingredients to become a big commercial hit movie,” King said to Deadline, who broke the story. They also reported that even though the show opened in 2005, the film rights were off the market until six weeks ago.
I’d venture to guess that many /Film readers like yourselves have seen Jersey Boys over the years. Do you think it can be a successful film? And, if you were making it, would you keep it as a straight up musical – like Mamma Mia or The Producers – or make the music less the focus – like in Purple Rain?