It was announced last week that during Fox's telecast of the three-hour live musical event A Christmas Story, the network would make history by airing the first ever live TV commercial for the upcoming movie The Greatest Showman. With a performance that surely would have made P.T. Barnum himself proud Hugh Jackman (P.T. Barnum) was joined by Zac Efron (Philip Carlyle), Zendaya (Anne Wheeler) and Keala Settle (Lettie Lutz) for the two and a half minute live trailer where they performed the new song "Come Alive." The live commercial was filmed at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, just across from where the live musical was being filmed.
Directed by The Greatest Showman feature film director Michael Gracey, along with Emmy-nominated Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock director Beth McCarthy-Miller, the live trailer features a 360-degree shoot with more than 150 dancers. Given that this live commercial went off without a hitch, it will be interesting to see if more studios will consider doing their own live commercials, but the fact that this project is an original musical certainly lends itself more to the use of a live performance than your typical narrative feature.
Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Ironically, this movie comes out just a few months after the iconic Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus put on its final performance after an amazing 146-year run that started with the Ringling Brothers first started performing in 1884. They merged with Barnum & Bailey in 1919 to form "The Greatest Show on Earth.
Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum leads a diverse cast that also includes the previously-mentioned Zac Efron, Zendaya and newcomer Keala Settle, along with Michelle Williams as P.T.'s wife, Charity Barnum, Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind, Sam Humphrey as Tom Thumb and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as W.D. Wheeler. This project has been in the works for many years, with director Michael Gracey signing on to take the helm back in 2011. At the time, it was slated to become the first original musical movie since the 1992 classic Newsies, but last year's Best Picture nominee La La Land just barely beat them to the punch.
Michael Gracey directs this musical from a script by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon, with Peter Chernin producing alongside Laurence Mark and Jenno Topping. 20th Century Fox had originally planned on releasing this movie on Christmas Day, but it was later pushed to December 20, where it will now open alongside Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Two days later, on December 22, three more new movies will hit theaters, with Paramount's Downsizing, Universal's Pitch Perfect 3 and Warner Bros. Father Figures, with Sony's All the Money in the World opening on Christmas Day. Take a look at this innovative live trailer for The Greatest Showman, courtesy of The Greatest Showman Twitter.
It's showtime! Watch now as @RealHughJackman, @Zendaya, @ZacEfron, and @kealasettle perform the world’s first LIVE movie commercial for The #GreatestShowman🎩! In theaters December 20. pic.twitter.com/Uk2tMmtGxy— The Greatest Showman (@GreatestShowman) December 18, 2017