“Wicked” has been in development for over a decade and was recently taken off Universal’s release schedule amid the pandemic. Cast members have not been announced.
Universal originally slated the movie to open around the holidays in 2019, but ended up releasing Tom Hooper’s “Cats” adaptation on that date instead and moved “Wicked” to December 2021. (And, well, we don’t need to remind anyone how that went). After the coronavirus pandemic struck and forced movie theaters to close and film production to shut down, the studio had to shuffle around its schedule again. That resulted in Universal resetting the animated family film “Sing 2” for Dec. 22, 201 and sending “Wicked” back into release date purgatory.
Despite the numerous headwinds, there’s still reason to hold out hope for “Wicked.” Yes, Universal’s big-screen rendition of “Cats” sputtered in spectacular fashion, but the studio’s adaptations of “Les Miserables” and “Mamma Mia” were huge commercial successes. And “Wicked” certainly has a vocal fanbase. The show is among the more populist musicals to open in the 21st century and has endured on Broadway and beyond for years.
“Wicked,” a prequel of sorts to “The Wizard of Oz,” tells the story of everything that happened before Dorothy dropped down in Oz. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth starred as the unlikely dynamic duo Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch in the original production, which landed 10 Tony nominations and won three. It’s among the longest-running shows on Broadway, and one of the few to surpass $1 billion in revenue.
Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway show, is adapting the screenplay with Winnie Holzman. Marc Platt, a producer on the musical, is also producing the film. Along with classics like “Defying Gravity” and “Popular,” the movie version is expected to feature at least two new songs.
Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.