10 Movies That Were Made Into Musicals

October 5, 2016  |  
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While on the train the other day, I looked up to see what advertisement was above my head and there it was: an ad for Love Jones: The MusicalNow, I had heard about the upcoming musical version of the beloved movie, but to actually see an ad for it, to view it being promoted with names (including Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele), pictures and more, I was reminded that the show really is coming to an off-Broadway theater near you. As crazy as such a production sounds when first hearing about it, truth is, quite a few movies that didn’t sound like they would work as musicals actually ended up being a success. Oh, and some didn’t.

With that being said, check out a few movies turned musicals that either exceeded expectations, or did just as terribly as everyone thought they would. And don’t forget to let us know if you saw any of these plays or plan to.


Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Mean Girls

It hasn’t come out yet, but the Mean Girls musical is definitely a go. According to Playbill, Tina Fey and her husband, composer Jeffrey Richmond, will actually be behind the production, which is slated to make its debut in D.C. in fall 2017. A rep told Playbill, “they are all really excited and will have a formal announcement with additional information very soon.”

Sister Act remake

Touchstone Pictures

Sister Act

Sure, there was singing in both Sister Act films, (obviously), but not singing throughout. So when I heard they were making a musical out of it, I was skeptical. However, I had the chance to see Whoopi Goldberg’s production while it starred Raven-Symoné, and it was not only entertaining, but also hilarious.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

The Color Purple

The original play, produced by Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey, among others, was quite the success, recouping its $11 million investment within its first year on Broadway. However, the revival, which stars Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, and originally starred Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery, has been an even bigger Broadway juggernaut. It earned the best revival of a musical Tony, as well as rave reviews from MadameNoire editors!

kinky boots chiwetel ejioforKinky Boots

Based on the 2005 film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joel Edgerton, the Broadway play (which Cyndi Lauper wrote and produced the music for) won the best musical Tony in 2013 and has received rave reviews. The musical adaptation made sense when you really think about it, considering that the character Lola was a singing drag queen.

0626_MovieLionKing-e1403966407457.jpgThe Lion King

How do you take an epic animated film to Broadway? You enlist director Julie Taymor to direct, Elton John to do music, and use puppets and actors dressed up as the beloved film’s animals. The result? A Tony award for best musical, the first best director Tony for a woman (kudos to Taymor), and an all-around uber successful musical that’s still one of the most popular shows to see on the Great White Way after nearly 20 years.


Matilda, based on the novel by Roald Dahl and the 1996 film, made its Broadway debut in 2013. It gained critical acclaim, with many people thinking it was “robbed” of the best musical Tony after losing to another adaptation on this list — Kinky Boots.

A Christmas Story, Metro Goldwyn Mayer 1983A Christmas Story

Based on the 1983 film, which is a cult classic, the musical for A Christmas Story had a short run on Broadway in 2012. It was also nominated for three Tony nominations, but didn’t walk away with anything. It clearly wasn’t the hottest thing smoking, but the musical did well.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Bring It On

Some ideas just end up as crazy as they sound. Even the music and lyrics of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is the mastermind behind Hamilton, couldn’t make it a hit. It had a limited engagement from August 2012 to December 2012.


Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was all people talked about in 2010, and not for good reason. Actors were injured doing stunts, there was drama with the musical’s score done by U2’s Bono and The Edge, and due to beef with the show’s producer, Julie Taymor couldn’t make this musical a hit a critical success in the way she did The Lion King. It’s still the most expensive show in history and ran from 2011 to 2014.

Rocky movie posterRocky 

Serious question: Would you see Rocky the musical? Based on the 1976 film, surprisingly, quite a few people were interested in the production. The show had a limited run, but managed to churn out 188 performances on Broadway in 2014.

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