Iconic teen musical “Grease” is catching a second (or third) wind with its new HBO Max partnership.
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The streaming service has ordered a straight-to-series reboot of “Grease: Rydell High,” a spinoff of the original 1978 show starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The new series, which will be set around the high school that characters Danny and Sandy attended, has made millions on Broadway and in movie theaters and has had more lives than a cat.
“We’re going to build out the world of this show which everybody loves, in that musical style, and build basically a ‘High School Musical’ kind of experience that will be a big fun rock and roll musical,” WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, told Variety.
“'Grease’ is one of the most beloved Paramount titles and it’s a thrill to be re-imagining it for today’s audience,” Paramount TV president Nicole Clemens, added. “When Bob called about bringing it to television, we knew we would be in the perfect hands because of our great working relationship with HBO Max and Bob’s genuine passion for musicals.”
One reason for the musical’s resurgence is its massive success: Since its debut, it’s spawned a live special on Fox, landed a spinoff reality competition on NBC and has been revived on Broadway three times. “My Fair Lady,” for comparison, was revived four times.
The original Broadway production of “Grease” in 1972 had 3,388 performances, made $70 million and returned $400,000 for every $10,000 invested. In its 1994 revival, it had 1,505 performances and grossed $72 million. And in 2007, it had 554 performances and grossed $47 million.
What’s more, the original movie rendition of “Grease” is the all-time leader in box office for a musical according to Box Office Mojo. It's lifetime gross since in 1978 release is nearly $190 million on a budget of just $6 million.
And in case you were wondering how the ill-fated 1982 sequel that did not feature Travolta and Newton-John (but did star up-and-coming actress Michelle Pfeiffer) faired, it made a paltry $15 million.