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20th Century Fox Commits to Turning Its Films into Musicals

Jacob Coakley • Theatre Buzz • July 18, 2013
20th Century Fox aims to develop, workshop and produce musicals based on their film library

20th Century Fox aims to develop, workshop and produce musicals based on their film library

20th Century Fox is planning a major musical move. The film studio has partnered with Broadway producer Kevin McCollum (Motown, Rent, Avenue Q, In the Heights), film producer John Davis (Predator, The Firm, Grumpy Old Men, I Robot, Chronicle) and industry executive Tom McGrath to turn movies from the 20th Century Fox library into musicals for Broadway and touring—and then back into films in their new form. They aim to produce nine musicals based on films in the next “several” years, with McCollumn overseeing day to day operations. Fox has also brought on Isaac Robert Hurwitz, executive director and producer of the New York Musical Theatre Festival,  as a consultant to help guide their theatre activities.

New Venture to Develop and Produce Stage Projects Based upon the Studio’s Legendary Library of Films

Los Angeles (July 11, 2013) __ 20th Century Fox has formed a joint venture with top Broadway producer and Tony Award® winner Kevin McCollum (Motown, Rent, Avenue Q, In the Heights), prolific film producer John Davis (Predator, The Firm, Grumpy Old Men, I Robot, Chronicle) and leading industry executive Tom McGrath, to develop live stage productions based upon the studio’s vast library of films.

“For years we have been eager to expand our entertainment expertise to the world of live stage, but we wanted to do it right and most importantly, with the right people,” said 20th Century Fox Chairman and CEO, Jim Gianopulos. “We have been fortunate to have found great partners in Kevin, John and Tom to help to transform great Fox properties into exciting live stage entertainment for audiences everywhere.”

Fox, McCollum, Davis and McGrath will jointly develop a slate of at least nine musicals based upon the studio’s films over the next several years. The venture also aims to develop and produce stage properties based on Fox films that, following their theatrical runs, can return to the big screen in their new form.

Day to day operations of the joint venture will be overseen by McCollum.

“The early development phase is both an exciting and vulnerable time in the life of a musical,” said Kevin McCollum.  “This new joint venture provides a much needed foundation to the creative process for myself, my partners, and the artists who will develop these shows.  We are eager to get to work mining the stage theatrical possibilities of the Fox film library.”

The partners will focus on shepherding new musicals based on Fox films through early creative development, reading, and workshop phases.  The aim is for a number of the properties to move on to full productions after the development stage.

Said John Davis: “Fox has produced thousands of celebrated musicals and films throughout its illustrious cinematic history. As such, it represents a great opportunity to transition this immense library to stage productions. We could not be more excited about this venture and the team we have assembled.”

McCollum, Davis, and McGrath will continue to work on other projects while collaborating with Fox on this joint venture.

Additionally, Fox has engaged Isaac Robert Hurwitz as a consultant to help develop and guide its legitimate theatre activities, including the new joint venture. Hurwitz is the executive director and producer of The New York Musical Theatre Festival and recently received a Special Drama Desk Award for his contributions to New York’s musical theatre.

About 20th Century Fox

One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, 20th Century Fox produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.

About Kevin McCollum

Kevin McCollum received three Tony Awards for Best Musical for In the Heights (2008), Avenue Q (2004), and RENT (1996), which was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and made into a major motion picture. He is the producer of this season’s smash hit Motown: The Musical.  He also produced The Drowsy Chaperone (five 2006 Tony Awards), Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme (two 2002 Tony Awards), the revival of Ragtime (2009), West Side Story (2009), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (2011), [title of show] (2008), the debut stage production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and the Off-Broadway hit De La Guarda. McCollum also serves on the Board of Governors of the Broadway League as well as on the Labor Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Executive Committee, assisting in League negotiations with unions and theatre owners. McCollum was trained at the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music and earned his Master’s degree in film producing from the Peter Stark Program at the University of Southern California. In 1995, he received the Robert Whitehead Award for Outstanding Commercial Theatre Producing. McCollum received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, in 2005.

About John Davis/Davis Entertainment

John Davis has been a producer on more than 90 feature films and movies for television that have earned more than $4.8 billion worldwide. His Los Angeles-based Davis Entertainment develops and produces motion pictures for all studios, but has enjoyed a notable first-look production deal at 20th Century Fox since it was founded in 1986, representing the second longest uninterrupted production deal in Hollywood.

Among some of Davis’s many successful motion pictures include the $100 million-plus micro-budgeted hit Chronicle; the Jack Black adventure comedy Gulliver’s Travels ($200 million worldwide); the sci-fi thriller I, Robot, starring Will Smith; the Jim Carrey starrer Mr. Popper’s PenguinsNorbit, the hit comedy starring Eddie Murphy (their fourth film together); the blockbuster The Firm, starring Tom Cruise; a trio of Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau comedy hits, and the two hugely successful Dr. Dolittle films, starring Eddie Murphy, among others.

For television, Davis Entertainment developed and is executive producing two hour-long dramatic series for 2013/14, the original The Black List (Sony Television), and a reimagining of the hit 1967 series Ironside (Universal Television), both for NBC.

About Tom McGrath

Tom McGrath is the Senior Managing Director of Crossroads Media, Inc. an LA – based media investment concern.  Previously Chairman of Bug Music prior to its sale to BMG and Chairman of Key Brand Entertainment, Inc..  Prior to Crossroads McGrath was Exec. VP of the Viacom Entertainment Group where he was responsible for the division’s overall film, TV, theme park and music publishing operations as well as film financing. At Paramount he supervised the adaptation of the studio’s films into musicals including White Christmas, Footloose, Saturday Night Fever and Roman Holiday among others.  He began his career at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC with the original Broadway production of Annie.

About Isaac Robert Hurwitz

Isaac Robert Hurwitz is the executive director and producer of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), which he co-founded in 2004. NYMF has premiered over 350 new musicals, and has launched future productions for more than 85 of those shows. Isaac has received numerous awards for his work at NYMF, including a Special Drama Desk Award this season and the 2010 Encore Award from the New York Arts & Business Council. A producer, director and musician, Isaac previously served on the Advisory Committee for New York City Center’s Encores! series.

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