Elton John and his company Rocket Pictures have acquired the rights to the popular musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and are planning to make it into an animated feature film, The Wrap reports.
The film will be co-produced by Rocket Pictures CEO Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish with The Really Useful Group. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and Elton John will executive produce. No release date has been announced yet.
The filmmakers of this new animated version of Joseph also chimed in with their thoughts of this announcement. According to Shaw, “We are excited about the huge potential of a contemporary animated version, and we’re thrilled to bring this to the big screen in partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.” Rice said, “I have always thought Joseph was a strong contender for an animation production, and I’m delighted this is now going to happen.”
Webber also commented, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started in a school and was the first step on the path that led to my musicals with Tim Rice. It is now being performed all over the world by a fourth generation of school kids, and a great movie can only help Joseph being part of the lives of many more.”
It’s going to be really interesting to see Rocket Pictures take on this incredibly popular musical as an animated feature. Taking on such a well-known entity can be risky–fans are usually very passionate and defensive of the original product. We still don’t know how the reception of Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, which comes out later this year. I would love to see this film as a 2D-animated film, but let’s be honest, that’s wishful thinking and it will most likely be a CGI (perhaps even 3D) film. Hopefully the animation and art style will be a little more sophisticated that Gnomeo & Juliet.
One of Webber’s other musicals “Cats” was once slated to become an animated film in the 1990s by Steven Spielberg’s animation studio Amblination. (In our interview with Steve Hickner, he talks about working on that animated version of “Cats” and what could have been.) However, when the studio closed in 1997, those plans were scrapped. Since then, there hasn’t been any word of Webber’s musicals becoming animated feature films until now.
Rocket Pictures is Elton John’s production company that was founded in 1996 to produce family-friendly musical films and TV shows. In 2011, the company released Gnomeo & Juliet and has plans to make a sequel as well as another animated film called N.E.R.D.S. In many of these films, John writes and performs the songs himself.
The Really Useful Group is Webber’s theater producing and rights licensing company. It owns the rights to Webber’s extensive musical cannon, which includes hits such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” and “Evita”.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical that first hit the scene in 1968 and made it to Broadway in 1982. There have been many actors playing the lead character, Joseph, over the years, with Donny Osmond being one of the most notable. Osmond portrayed Joseph in the 1999 straight-to-video film.