Not only did ”Chicago” win Best Picture and five other Oscars, but with $303 million grossed worldwide, it’s Miramax’s biggest hit ever. So it’s no wonder that the studio wants to make lots more musicals. This week, the studio announced it would adapt the Broadway hits ”Damn Yankees” and ”Pippin.” ”This is a passion project for me, just like ‘Chicago,”’ Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein said of ”Pippin” in a statement. ”I saw this approximately 30 years ago with the original cast and have always wanted to make it into a movie. Now, with ‘Damn Yankees’ and ‘Pippin,’ the ghost of Arthur Freed is alive at Miramax,” he said, referring to legendary producer behind such midcentury MGM musicals as ”Singin’ in the Rain” and ”On the Town.”
Or maybe it’s the spirit of Bob Fosse, who directed the stage versions of ”Pippin” and ”Chicago.” ”Pippin,” which ran for five years on Broadway starting in 1972, is about the son of Emperor Charlemagne, who goes on a quest for self-fulfillment. Its score is by Stephen Schwartz (”Godspell,” Disney’s ”Hunchback of Notre Dame”).
”Damn Yankees,” which featured some of Fosse’s early dancing and choreography, will be produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who produced the studio’s ”Chicago.” The pair will then produce for Miramax a remake of ”Guys and Dolls.” Both shows have been filmed before, back in the 1950s.
Miramax isn’t the only studio following up on ”Chicago”’s success. For Warner Bros., ”Phone Booth” director Joel Schumacher is shooting in September an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ”Phantom of the Opera,” starring ”Attila”’s Gerard Butler. And Variety reports that DreamWorks is talking to playwright/composer Stephen Sondheim about adapting his ”Sweeney Todd.”