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Sigh… Disney Is Rebooting ‘Sister Act’

Sigh... Disney Is Rebooting 'Sister Act'

Disney has apparently decided that the “original” idea is no longer guaranteed to deliver a sizable profit, and so the recycling/remaking/retooling/reimagining/etc of old franchises will continue to thrive… get used to it folks!

The studio has announced today that a remake of Whoopi Goldberg’s hit 1992 comedy, “Sister Act,” is currently in development, although no word yet on whether Whoopi will be involved. I’d assume that a younger actress will instead be cast in what will be a reboot, updated to reflect the present day, and not an extension of the original films, but rather an entirely new film (possibly the beginning of a new franchise).

The writers of films like “Ella Enchanted,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Legally Blonde,” and “She’s the Man” (Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah) have been hired to pen the script, with Allison Shearmur (“Cinderella”) producing.

As an aside, you may recall that, in 2011, almost 20 years after “Sister Act” was released in the US, Harlem-based Queen Mother Dr Delois Blakely, a real-life former Roman Catholic nun, with a pair of Ivy League degrees, came forward with claims that her life was the inspiration for the film, and officially launched a lawsuit against Disney and Sony Pictures. Dr Delois Blakely, who was profiled back in 2003 by the New York Times as Harlem’s Queen Mother, and veteran activist, alleged that… at the time, she was a young, black, singing nun serving the street people and youths of Harlem, who published the autobiography “The Harlem Street Nun,” in 1987. Later that year, she claims, she approached Tri-Star Pictures producer Cynthia Bowles, among other Hollywood figures, with a three-page synopsis. Bowles apparently sent her a letter in reply, expressing interest in the film rights. Later… producer Scott Rudin took a “Sister Act” project from Tri-Star to Disney. This became the film starring Whoopi Goldberg as “Delois van Cartier.” Blakely’s suit stated that there were similarities between the story she presented Tri-Star initially, claiming breach of contract, misappropriation of likeness, unjust enrichment and other claims.

Blakely eventually did drop the original lawsuit in January 2012, but to serve a more comprehensive lawsuit in August 2012, in California, asking for $1 billion in damages from Disney. No word on where exactly that suit currently stands, almost 3 years later.

“Sister Act” as a packaged product has been immensely profitable for those with stakes in it; including Whoopi. It’s most recent incarnation was as a stage musical on Broadway, after receiving 5 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical. Likely the Broadway show’s successful run was of some influence on today’s news. 

So who would you cast in this one?

The original 1992 film focused on Goldberg’s lounge singer hiding out at a San Francisco convent and pretending to be nun while on the run from the mob. The film generated $232 million worldwide. Its follow-up, 2 years later, “Back in the Habit” grossed $57 million in the U.S.

The news of Disney’s plans for a remake was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

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