How Much Would A Theatrical Movie Have Made?


Hamilton was a sensation on Broadway, and the historical musical has the potential to be a successful movie, as well, but just how much a theatrical release would gross at the box office is uncertain. Directed and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton is a musical focused on one of the Founding Fathers of the United States: Alexander Hamilton. His story is told through a mixture of singing and rapping. A video recording of Hamilton‘s stage production was released, and performed very well, on the streaming service Disney+ in 2020.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda spent over seven years composing Hamilton, and all 46 songs in it, and the show received 11 awards at the 70th Tony Awards in 2016, including Best Musical. Hamilton originally opened Off-Broadway in 2015, with Miranda starring in the titular role, and in addition to selling out for several months, the musical received mostly positive reviews. Hamilton’s initial success on the stage led it to Broadway, the West End, and U.S. tours before the Broadway version was captured for the popular Disney+ release.

Related: Hamilton: One Historical Detail Makes The Reynolds Pamphlet Even Better

Based on Hamilton’s success as a stage production, a movie adaptation of the musical would presumably also be well-received by audiences. Despite a series of recent musical movie releases disappointing at the box office, Hamilton is a well-established property and beloved by a large fanbase, which gives the show an advantage that other adaptations might not have had. However, there is a chance that Hamilton has performed so well, even on Disney+, simply because it remains a stage show, its primarily intended format, and a theatrical movie version might not be able to match the original production’s success.

How Much Money Hamilton Has Made

Hamilton reportedly ranks as the sixth highest-grossing Broadway musical of all time, based on its combined grosses from both the New York City stage version and its touring performances (via Forbes). This puts the show behind, in order, The Lion King, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, and The Book of Mormon. All but two of those musicals have already spawned film adaptations, with another hitting the big screen soon enough (the Wicked movie, to be split into two parts, is releasing in 2024 and 2025) . As of 2020, Hamilton had reportedly earned $817 million from Broadway and touring shows — the latest total from just Broadway performances is up to $765 million (via Broadway World) — but adding in merchandise, soundtrack albums, and the all-important Disney+ streaming rights (which were sold for $75 million), Hamilton easily broke the $1 billion mark.

Movie Musicals Can Be Hit & Miss At The Box Office

Movie musicals can be hit-and-miss, and a recent string of box office flops in 2021 only proves the risk. West Side Story, In The Heights, and Tick, Tick… BOOM! all received positive reviews from critics but did not perform well during their theatrical release, each falling short of projected earnings (note: Tick, Tick… Boom!, being a Netflix movie, had a very limited run on the big screen). Dear Evan Hansen, given its mixed reviews, was the biggest disappointment for the genre all around.

There is some defense for 2021 box office results since movie theaters were still struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many movies at the time, including In The Heights, were even released on streaming services on the same days as their theatrical opening. However, other productions still managed to exceed box office predictions in 2021, and musical movies have performed well in the past. In 2017, The Greatest Showman had a slow opening weekend but ended up grossing $174 million domestically, a massive success compared to the low-double-digit grosses of the 2021 movie musical releases.

Related: In The Heights vs. Hamilton: Which Lin-Manuel Miranda Musical Is Better

A Hamilton Movie Would Be A Big Success – Would It Break $1 Billion?

A Hamilton movie would definitely be a success, as its worldwide acclaim and strong fanbase would ensure audiences flocked to theaters. Hamilton’s soundtrack breaks the stereotypes of musicals by featuring a mix of rap numbers and traditionally sung tunes, all inspired by hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and soul styles. The music is already extremely well-loved, and this would only encourage people to watch a Hamilton movie.

Whether Hamilton would break $1 billion at the box office is a different matter. Audiences are now used to watching movies on streaming services soon after, if not the same day as, their theatrical release date. Even though it’d be a different version of the story, Hamilton already being available to stream on Disney+ might give audiences less incentive to see a film adaptation in cinemas. However, some blockbuster movies have still recently grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and, like Top Gun: Maverick, continue dominating the box office many months into their release. Hamilton, being the worldwide phenomenon that it is, could have the support needed to see its movie adaptation break $1 billion at the global box office.

Will A Hamilton Movie Adaptation Ever Happen?

Currently, there is no plan in place for a Hamilton movie, but that does not mean the adaptation is off the table forever. After Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stage show In The Heights was turned into a movie, questions were raised about whether Hamilton would get the same treatment. His involvement with the production of the In The Heights movie is an encouraging sign that he is open to adapting his own Broadway musicals for the big screen.

Despite the disappointing box office for In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda has succeeded with movie musicals, and he remains positive in response to inquiries about adapting Hamilton into a film, though he hints it might not happen any time soon. When comparing Hamilton to In The Heights, he said they were able to make the latter’s adaptation “with a good deal of distance from the original thing and that he has “no distance from Hamilton” (via Digital Spy). Hamilton continues to be very successful as a stage production, and Miranda is still involved with it heavily.

Related: How In The Heights’ Opening Song Mirrors Hamilton’s

Lin-Manuel Miranda says that his involvement in the show is not stopping a Hamilton movie from happening, just that “it would take a real director with vision to do something that would set it apart from the stage production.” Miranda is open to a future movie based on the show but needs the right pitch so that the separation between Hamilton the stage production and Hamilton the movie is clear. This means that, while it may not happen soon, audiences can stay hopeful that a Hamilton movie adaptation is always a possibility.



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