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Universal Will No Longer Go 'In The Heights' With Big Screen Musical Adaptation

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 29, 2011 at 10:40AM

The success of studio musicals over the past little while has been a bit of a mixed bag. For every "Mamma Mia!" or "Hairspray" there's a "Rent" or "Nine" and there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason why one film flops and another succeeds in the genre. And while Universal is mounting "Les Miserables" -- one of the biggest musicals of all time -- with Oscar winning director Tom Hooper, they've dropped plans to bring another acclaimed musical to the big screen.
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The success of studio musicals over the past little while has been a bit of a mixed bag. For every "Mamma Mia!" or "Hairspray" there's a "Rent" or "Nine" and there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason why one film flops and another succeeds in the genre. And while Universal is mounting "Les Miserables" -- one of the biggest musicals of all time -- with Oscar winning director Tom Hooper, they've dropped plans to bring another acclaimed musical to the big screen.

Deadline reports that the Kenny Ortega ("This Is It," "High School Musical") adaptation of "In The Heights" has been let go by the studio. Universal picked it the project way back in 2008 with the show's book writer Quiara Alegria Hudes penning the script, and last spring, they brought on Marc Klein ("A Good Year," "Serendipity") to work on it as well.

While the film wasn't facing a huge budget -- about $37 million -- casting was an issue. 'Heights' creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was set to play the lead role and the plan was to surround him with well known Latin talent in supporting roles to help in drawing an audience, but those plans didn't pan out. Without the stars, telling the story of a bodega owner who decides to retire after inheriting his grandmother's lottery winnings, but feels guilty as he says a final goodbye to his family of customers, just wasn't going to cut it.

So, Miranda will try and shop it elsewhere for now, but for fans of the musical, their chance to see it razzle dazzled on the big screen will have to wait.

This article is related to: Film Studios, Universal


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