Prince Music to Drive New Movie from Universal

Mamma mia, Universal is making a new movie with the sounds of Prince, but it won't tell his life story.

Universal Pictures is developing an original film musical inspired by the music of Prince, according to Variety.  Universal Chairman Donna Langley said the film studio worked aggressively nab the rights to classic songs from the artist’s catalog.

Further reading: The Dark History of Prince’s Black Album

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The upcoming Prince movie will not be a biopic but an original story with the songs driving the narrative, like Universal’s use of Abba songs in Mamma Mia. The news comes months after the Mamma Mia sequel pulled in $400 million worldwide. This year saw the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody becoming the biggest music biopic of all time, pulling in $534 million. Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born remake, which starred Lady Gaga, earned more than $350 million at the box office. The Prince estate and the studio decided the 1984 film Purple Rain covered the biopic territory already. The estate and Universal are meeting with potential writers and producers to come up with a completely original story.

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The film will be executive produced by Atom Factory’s Troy Carter, the entertainment advisor of Prince’s estate, alongside Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson. Universal Music owns exclusive worldwide publishing rights for Prince’s catalog.

Mike Knobloch, the President of Global Film Music and Publishing for Universal Pictures, will also play a major role in the film. Development of the film will be overseen by Universal’s Vice President of Production Sara Scott and Creative Executive Mika Pryce.

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Prince Estate to Release New Music From The Vaults

Universal Pictures is also working on the film Last Christmas, which will feature the music of the late Wham singer George Michael. They are also producing a film adaptation of the Broadway smash Cats starring Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, James Corden and Jason Derulo. The Elton John biopic Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton, will also be released next year.

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Selma director Ava DuVernay will also be making a Prince documentary for Netflix next year. Prince  is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He sold more than 100 million records worldwide, won eight Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for Purple Rain. Prince, whose legal name was Prince Rogers Nelson, died of an accidental overdose of counterfeit Vicodin pills that were laced with fentanyl in 2016. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.