Anointed with a fresh sprinkling of pixie dust, the
Based on the 2004 film starring
The show, which has thus far earned middling reviews but proved a strong crowd-pleaser, is a spin of sorts on Hollywood's own current obsession with remakes, reboots and adaptations. Broadway has a long tradition of revivals, the closest analogue to a Hollywood remake. These screen-to-stage adaptations, though, are a trickier beast--they're based on branded material but they are, at heart, original productions, often with a very different feel (and given that many are musicals, coming in a very different format) than their source material.
Of course, just as in the movie business, mining recognizable names is no guarantee of box-office success. Here's a look at some recent hits and misses.
The most recent show from
Yes, that Rocky. The indomitable boxing champ played by
Though lauded by critics, particularly for its technical innovations, the show wasn't exactly the box-office knockout that Stallone and his fellow producers were hoping for. Starring Andy Karl in the title role, "Rocky" failed to gain much Tony traction and, playing the large-scale Winter Garden Theatre, closed after five months and just $19 million. The "Rocky" musical did, however, see bigger success in Germany, where it originally debuted.
Based on the 2003 Tim Burton fantasy starring
Instead, the production quickly washed ashore. Reviews were tepid, and ticket sales fell steadily after the show opened. The Broadway show lasted just three months (98 regular performances), and its box-office haul came up short of the reported price tag of $14 million.
Irish filmmaker John Carney's microbudgeted musical film about a down-on-his-luck Dublin busker finding his muse in a young Czech pianist became an art house hit and had a fleeting moment of fame when its song "Falling Slowly" won an Oscar in 2008.
That would have made it an unlikely candidate for the stage. But after a short run at downtown's New York Theatre Workship in late 2011, the show made a quick Broadway transfer and began conducting some serious music on stage. With a set decked out to look like a bar and a cast that doubled as its own orchestra--not to mention a strong set of folk-emo numbers--the show went on to storm the Tonys that season, winning eight prizes.
Those wins soon helped boost sales. The production closed its Broadway run in January with $110 million, easily outstripping the film's worldwide gross of about $21 million.
"Bullets Over Broadway"
A stage adaptation might have seemed logical given the name, but it still took 20 years for
Pegged as a surefire critical and commercial hit by many theater industry watchers, "Bullets" soon went in a different direction. Reviews from several high-profile outlets— including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times — were weak, and the show was shut out of the main Tony nominations. "Bullets" ran for about five months on Broadway, ending its run early last August with about $18 million.
Such failures, though, have left theater producers unbowed: Many more such adaptations are in the works, with "Doctor Zhivago" set to open and possibly even a "Waitress" show headed to Broadway.