ESG Report: Uh-oh, Streaming Musicals Keep Bombing
Netflix’s 'Tick, Tick...Boom!' with Lin-Manuel Miranda was NOT another 'Hamilton' — and the problems kept mounting
Welcome to the weekly dispatch from Entertainment Strategy Guy, The Ankler’s top secret anonymous showbiz data guru and analyst.
What’s Hollywood’s favorite quote? “Nobody knows anything,” William Goldman’s summary of the business in three words. I’ve always disagreed with this sentiment, in part because if Hollywood knows just one thing it’s this:
“If it worked for someone else, copy it mercilessly.”
One can see the latest iteration of this strategy in the just-finished streaming wars of 2021. Over July 4th weekend 2020, Hamilton — a Broadway musical filmed originally for theaters but diverted to Disney+ — set America on fire. I anointed this musical the biggest streaming film of 2020 and you can see why in Google Trends:
Out came the copycats, as streamers scrambled to find “the next Hamilton”. Some outlets even went so far as to call 2021 the “Year of the Musical”. And you can see why: Apple TV+ released Come From Away and Schmigadoon. Sony had Cinderella. Warner Media put out In the Heights. Prime Video launched Annette and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. And Netflix tried with Diana: The Musical and Tick, Tick…Boom!
That’s a lot of musicals. So did any, you know, work?
What amuses me is I don’t see anyone talking about this. Sure, when it came to theatrically-released musicals, the Hollywood chattering classes, including my colleague, bent over backwards to let everyone know that the biggest musical of the year, West Side Story, flopped in December. Heck, this flop even presaged the final death of theaters.