Earlier this year, there was talk of a Prince biopic, and that would have been bad. Now there are rumors of a Prince jukebox movie musical, and that will be… worse.
According to Variety, Universal has acquired the rights for some of Prince’s music to be used in a movie, with a slapdash plot to be constructed around the soundtrack. OK, Variety didn’t say “slapdash,” but they did warn that it will be something like Mamma Mia! (Why not something exactly like Mamma Mia!, with the same plot and cast? You know where to find me, Hollywood.)
Is this just another lame attempt for Prince’s estate to cash in his legacy? Is rain purple?
Now, I’ve written some variation on this story a dozen times, so I know this is the part where I cluck my tongue and shake my head and sarcastically toss in a (rueful or venomous, depending on my mood) “It’s what Prince would’ve wanted.”
But you know what? I think this is what Prince would have wanted.
Prince loved to write great songs for middling-to-terrible movies—great songs that could have quite happily gone about their greatness without the movie in question even existing. He also loved writing great songs as though they were soundtracking a middling-to-terrible movie that the rest of us would never get/have to watch. What do most of the songs on the Batman soundtrack have to do with Tim Burton’s film? And do you really think Prince would’ve turned down an offer to make a movie of the untitled “Love Symbol” album with Kirstie Alley?
Let’s face it—aside (we hope) from some nifty unreleased packages, it’s pretty much all terrible ideas from the Prince camp from here on out. The terrible ideas that unduly roil the Prince faithful will likely be abandoned, while the terrible ideas that those fans will begrudgingly shell out for will come to fruition.
And as terrible ideas go, this musical, at least, is one we can imagine Prince being into—even if without his participation it will be lame hackwork, rather than idiosyncratically awful.
But rest assured, this movie will be bad. Maybe not Graffiti Bridge bad, but still, bad.