Musicals Poised to Save Hollywood

Back in a big way, these are the musicals of 2021.

If you take a look at the upcoming release schedule, one thing becomes very clear. Hollywood is betting on the musical to welcome audiences back to theaters.

Musicals are larger than life and act as an alternate reality where problems can be sung about, and resolution can be found through a dance-off. Musicals benefit from the big sound and picture of an auditorium and the collective reactions from an attentive audience. Basically, musicals are perfect for the movie theater.

Before we pretend that everything was gearing up for a glut of musicals in 2021, the pandemic certainly had a big influence in how these musicals have been scheduled. Other than the recorded stage version of Hamilton, there hasn’t been many recordings or new musicals released in sometime. Now we’ll have plenty.

The upcoming slate of musicals includes:

Leos Carax’s Annette, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick Tick Boom, Dear Evan Hanson, Cyrano, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.

As someone who enjoys musicals, I’m excited about the prospects of seeing new productions that I’ve never seen before. I do think there is an audience for musicals and some are going to perform better than others.

(When I was planning to write this last week, In the Heights was predicted to hit box office expectations. It missed quite a bit and that could be attributed to a number of factors. Some reports have suggested that the movie doesn’t have any bankable stars or that it was streaming on HBO Max as an alternative method of viewing didn’t help. That doesn’t say anything about the quality of the movie, but rather the public’s appetite to see In the Heights in theaters. I watched the movie on HBO Max)

Back in the 1930s - 1950s, musicals were all the rage. Some of the all-time greatest movie musicals were made during that period, and that was an extravaganza worth going to the theater for. The hope with some of these upcoming musicals is that maybe they will welcome audiences back to the theaters once more. Here’s hoping that they do, otherwise the movie musical might go away for awhile again.

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Two from Carlos Aguilar. First for the Atlantic, Aguilar spoke with actress Olga Merediz about her role as Abuela Claudia in In the Heights. For Indiewire, Aguilar talked to cinematographer Alice Brooks and how the team shot the 96,000 sequence in In the Heights.

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Streaming this Weekend

In the Heights (Theaters, HBO Max, Now)

Luca (Disney+, June 18th)

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