Universal Pictures is getting wicked around the holidays in 2021. The studio announced today that the musical adaptation of the Broadway hit “Wicked” would sing its way into theaters on December 21, 2021. The film adaptation was scheduled to release earlier, but Universal Pictures decided to bump up the adaptation of the musical “CATS” and push “Wicked” in 2021.
A December 2021 release date puts “Wicked” against a Disney live-action adaptation; a third “Avatar” film; a project from Dreamworks Animation; and a project from Warner Bros. Animation. Those projects are just placeholders for now, and could change as the schedule begins to fill up.
Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) is directing “Wicked” for the studio, working off a screenplay by Winnie Holzman and Stephen Schwartz. The film is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire and is being produced by Marc Platt (Into the Woods, Bridge of Spies).
The story takes place before Dorothy visited the world of Oz and tells the untold story of the Witches. The musical has entertained over 50M fans around the world from the stage and has won three Tony Awards. Universal Pictures has been quiet about the casting, and no announcements have been named at this time. The hit Broadway adaption had Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda and Idina Menzel as Elphaba, a tough duo to top.
As we mentioned earlier, Universal Pictures is also working on a “CATS” adaptation, which will hit theaters on December 20, 2019. Tom Hooper is directing that project, which stars Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, James Corden, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo, and Mette Towley. One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, “Cats” received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981—where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. The production was the winner of the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983 the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for an extraordinary 18 years.
Casting and other “Wicked” announcements will be released as the studio ramps up production on the project.