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We're fresh off a whirlwind weekend full of love for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work in Hamilton, since the stage musical was made available on Disney+. Looking ahead, fans of the hip-hop phenomenon can already look forward to seeing another one of the playwright’s original works with next year’s In the Heights. Due to global health concerns, the movie directed by Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu was moved back a year to ensure it had a big-screen outing, while Hamilton skipped theaters.
At face value it may seem like a strange choice for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s less mainstream musical to get the big-screen treatment over Hamilton. But as Miranda supports with his recent comments to NPR, the upcoming Warner Bros movie was envisioned as a theatrical blockbuster and it had a lot to do with Crazy Rich Asians. In his words:
But Jon also was coming off the success of Crazy Rich Asians. And what he learned on that was, we don't get a lot of opportunities like this, so we have to swing big. And he really lobbied for a big movie that is also set in this neighborhood. And so filming last summer was one of those joyous experiences of my life because, again, I was writing songs about this neighborhood I loved to be performed on stage. But then to see those songs reinterpreted on the streets where I was writing them was breathtaking.
When Jon M. Chu originally signed on for Crazy Rich Asians, the director was faced with a similar decision when Netflix tried to outbid Warner Bros. for the rights to the rom-com. Although the filmmaker admitted he could have “moved to an island and never worked another day” if he had let the movie go straight to streaming, its success on the big screen makes it clear as to why he made the right call. Crazy Rich Asians became the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade and the first blockbuster featuring an all-Asian cast in 25 years.
Check out what to expect from In the Heights by checking out the trailer below:
In The Heights is meant to be a celebration of the Latino culture by way of New York City’s Washington Heights, the neighborhood where Lin-Manuel Miranda grew up. The musical was his first Broadway production, and will highlight his hometown with the kind of scope Crazy Rich Asians achieved.
When Lin-Manuel Miranda first set out to adapt it into a film, he imagined it more so as a “little indie musical,” but when he collaborated with Chu he realized how rare the opportunity would be to turn the story into something filmed on a huge scale. The movie was shot on an anamorphic scale in order to provide a theatrical experience that stretches across the entirety of the screen in theaters. In The Heights stars Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos, Stephanie Beatriz, Jimmy Smits, and Melissa Barrera among its impressive ensemble.
Stay tuned for In The Heights, coming to theaters on June 18, 2021, and see CinemaBlend’s 2020 release calendar for more movies coming soon.