Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is reportedly set to adapt the record-breaking musical Wicked into a movie for Universal Pictures. After 17 years on Broadway, Deadline is now reporting that Wicked is getting the movie treatment with Marc Platt producing under his Universal-based banner Marc Platt Productions. The outlet also reports that Chu is on board to direct, but this hasn't been officially confirmed by the filmmaker or the studio.
Jon M. Chu boarding Wicked is said to be the result of a case of great timing for both sides. Previously, Chu was attached to the Willow TV series that's in the works at Disney+, but he was forced to depart the project after its production kept getting pushed back. Around the same time, Stephen Daldry left the Wicked movie after he had previously signed on to direct. These events left the door wide open for Chu to take on another project like Wicked that will shoot at a more convenient time for the filmmaker.
Now in its 17th year on Broadway, Wicked has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide. With multiple Tony Awards, a Grammy Award, and dozens of international awards, the show is among the most successful theatrical productions of all time. It has surpassed $1 billion in Broadway profits, one of only three shows to have the honor. Given that it's such a hit with viewers, there have been attempts to turn Wicked into a movie dating back several years, but its production has been very rocky. Time will tell if Chu is ultimately the one to bring the Wicked movie to life.
In 2016, Universal announced that they would release a Wicked movie in 2019 with Stephen Daldry directing and Winnie Holzman writing the script. Because the project stalled, the controversial movie adaptation of Cats would take its release date as Wicked was later pushed back to a Dec. 22, 2021 release date. Because of the pandemic shutting down movie productions, Wicked was shelved once again with a new release date yet to be determined.
Wicked is based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. The story serves as a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, told from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, and Galinda the Good Witch. The show's original stars included Idina Menzel (Frozen) as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) as Galinda, with Joel Gray (Cabaret) as the Wizard.
It's always seemed like just a matter of time before Wicked was given the big screen treatment, and it seems that the project might be finally making some real traction with Chu coming in. Given its multiple delays already, Universal probably won't settle on an official release date just yet, and it's not clear when the movie will be released or when production might begin. As Chu has already had great success with adapting literary works in the past with Crazy Rich Asians, he has great potential to do the same with Wicked. This news comes to us from Deadline.