Brett Haley has been tapped to helm the upcoming Grease prequel, Summer Loving. The prequel was first announced back in April 2019, but there hasn't been a whole lot of news since then. Leah McKendrick wrote the script for the project, which is being produced by Temple Hill and PictureStart. McKendrick is taking over for John August, who was attached to write the screenplay for the prequel when it was first announced. Summer Loving will mark Haley's first time directing a movie for a major studio, after years of indie projects.
Summer Loving is inspired by the iconic Grease song "Summer Nights," which finds main characters Danny Zuko (John Travolta} and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton John} separately telling their friends about a summer fling they had prior to the events of the original movie. Paramount is reportedly very excited about the project and there have already been whispers of a new franchise if the prequel performs well at the box office upon its release. Apparently Brett Haley's passion for the movie and his ideas to update it for a 2020 audience is what sealed the deal for the studio.
Grease turned John Travolta and Olivia Newton John into instant movie stars. In December 2019, the two reunited in costume in order to raise money for cancer research. The response was pretty big. At the Florida event, Olivia Newton John got on stage to perform "Hopelessly Devoted to You," while Travolta sang "Sandy." He later joined the male chorus in a version of "Greased Lightnin." Will the two actors reunite for Summer Loving? That has not been confirmed at this time, but having them in a cameo would be pretty massive for fans of the original musical.
Grease hit theaters in 1978 and quickly became a hit with critics and audiences. It went on to become the highest grossing musical for the time, while also taking the second best-selling record of the year, just behind the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which also starred John Travolta. To date, Grease has grossed $189.9 million domestically and $206.2 million internationally, totaling $396 million worldwide after a 40th anniversary rerelease. Many consider the movie to be one of the best musicals of all time.
Grease 2 came out in 1982 and starred Michelle Pfeiffer, which was her first lead role. The sequel was not well-received by critics or fans of the first installment and it only made $15 million. Grease co-creator Jim Jacobs did not have any involvement with the sequel and was particularly not very happy about the whole situation. The musical also aired as a live event on Fox back in 2016. It was directed by Hamilton helmer Thomas Kail and Alex Rudzinski. It starred Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Hudgens, Keke Palmer, and Carly Rae Jepsen. With a new screenplay and director, Summer Loving will more than likely get into casting next, so expect some more news soon. Deadline was the one of the first to report on the Grease prequel.