How are studios making their decisions these days? Very, very carefully. That’s certainly true over at Warner Bros. who this year alone have iced “Akira,” are moving very tentatively on “Arthur & Lancelot” (which seems to be on hold), passed on the sprawling “The Dark Tower” and let go of “The Imitation Game.” And now they are sending a hit musical packing as well. Jon Favreau‘s “Jersey Boys” has been put into turnaround.
Based on the popular and acclaimed stage show, with a script by John Logan (“Hugo,” “Skyfall“), the musical tells the tale of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, documenting the rise and fall of the successful rock ‘n’ roll group of the 1960s, one of the best-selling bands of all time, through their music, including tracks like “Beggin,” “December 1963 (Oh What A Night),” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” So what’s the deal? The show has been on Broadway since 2005, everyone knows the tunes, so why is WB choosing not to make it?
According to Variety, the studio has reservations about the project’s international appeal, particularly as the movie would have required a big budget, something they couldn’t justify with Favreau eyeing smaller names for the lead roles. In recent weeks folks like John Magaro (“Not Fade Away“), Dominic Cooper, Vincent Piazza, Paul Dano and James Badge Dale were apparently under consideration, but no formal offers were made.
GK Films honchos Graham King and Tim Headington will be trying to keep it alive, with the former set to sit down with Paramount and 20th Century Fox tomorrow to see if they have any interest in taking it on (the project was first developed at Sony before it moved to WB). But we’d reckon that for the reasons above, it might be a hard sell. So we’ll where this goes, but it looks like the journey from ‘Jersey’ to the big screen, is going to take a bit longer than expected.