Add Prince to the list of musical acts getting the movie treatment.
Universal Pictures announced Monday that it has acquired the rights to a number of classic songs from the late musician’s catalog and is developing an original film musical inspired by his music. The narrative will be fictional (not a biopic of the artist’s life), using Prince’s songs to drive the plot — think along the lines of the Abba-inspired Mamma Mia. Mike Knobloch, the studio’s president of global film music and publishing, will play an important role in the project.
Prince became a pop-music icon over the course of his 40-plus-year career, selling more than 100 million records worldwide, so the moviemakers should have plenty of material to mine. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he was one of the best-selling music artists of all time and won eight Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award (the latter for the 1984 film Purple Rain). He died of an accidental opioid overdose in 2016, at 57.
With the recent success of Bohemian Rhapsody, the slated release of the Elton John biopic Rocketman next year, and Universal’s upcoming Cats adaptation, musical/musician-inspired movies are on the rise, and the Prince project is unlikely to be the last.