Prince’s music is to feature in a new movie musical in the style of ABBA’s Mamma Mia!.
According to Variety magazine, bosses at Universal Pictures have acquired the rights to several of the late musician’s classic tracks from his estate and plan to feature the songs in a film with a fictional narrative – much like the Swedish group’s hit stage show and films.
Sources tell the U.S. magazine estate officials and Universal chiefs have decided against making a biopic of the 1999 hitmaker, who died in April 2016, as they feel his life was already covered extensively in his 1984 semi-autobiographical film Purple Rain – in which he played a rock star based on himself.
Variety editors report that executives have already started meeting with potential writers and producers to discuss the project, inspired by the success of Mamma Mia!, which started life as a musical that used ABBA’s music to tell the story of a young woman who invites three men who she believes could be her father to her Greek island wedding.
Executive producers already attached to the project include Troy Carter, the entertainment advisor of Prince’s estate, and Jody Gerson, Chairman and Chief Executive of Universal Music Publishing Group – the worldwide publishing administrator for his back catalogue.
Musical films have been some of Universal Pictures’ biggest earners in recent years, as in addition to the Mamma Mia! movies, their box office hits have included Les Miserables and Pitch Perfect.
Studio bosses look to be sticking to a winning formula as they also have Last Christmas, a planned festive rom-com featuring the music of George Michael, and an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats due out next year (19).
Prince fans were left distraught by his death, at the age of just 57 from an overdose of opioid painkillers – but will be treated to new music in years to come, as tracks from his famed vault of unreleased material are set to be released. A Wrinkle in Time filmmaker Ava DuVernay is also in the process of making a documentary film on the star’s life and career for streaming service Netflix.