Studio plans Beach Boys jukebox musical for bigscreen

Fox 2000 will try to mount its own bigscreen jukebox musical — set to the music of the Beach Boys.

On Friday, Fox won the rights to the band’s songs that will serve as the backdrop of an original story penned by Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”). Film won’t be a biopic, but a fictional tale set in the 1960s sun-and-surf culture of Southern California.

Neil Meron and Craig Zadan are producing the Fox 2000 musical with John Stamos. Trio collaborated on 2000 telepic “The Beach Boys: An American Family.”

It was the second high-profile win of the day for the Fox family. Also on Friday, 20th Century Fox beat out other bidders for the bigscreen adaptation of fantasy-actioner “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” (see story, page 4).

With the Beach Boys project, Fox 2000 beat out Universal, which likewise was drawn to Grant’s pitch.

Meron and Zadan have a strong track record, having produced successful musical films including “Hairspray,” which they produced, and “Chicago,” which they exec produced.

But bigscreen musicals remain a risky proposition.

After “Chicago,” many of the majors wanted to mount similar projects, including a redo of “Carousel.” But after several so-so results, including those of “Sweeney Todd” and “Dreamgirls,” creative execs reconsidered.

Zadan and Meron have likewise hit roadbumps. Duo are currently in pre-production with Paramount’s “Footloose” redo (Zadan produced the original “Footloose”), but the project had been all but called off when Kenny Ortega dropped out as director. Redux was resurrected when the filmmakers came up with a new tone.

Meron and Zadan also are developing “Damn Yankees” for New Line and have been busy on Broadway, producing the “Promises, Promises” revival and the upcoming Daniel Radcliffe tuner revival “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Bigscreen jukebox tuners have their own rhythm within the musical genre. While “Mamma Mia!” was a worldwide hit, Sony’s “Across the Universe” had a tough time, as did Universal’s “Idlewild.”

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