Ragtime - The musical movie

"What a lovely movie it all makes!!!" ~ Tateh

LOGLINE
A sweeping musical portrait of early-twentieth-century America tells the story of three families in the pursuit of the American Dream.

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PROPOSAL
Ragtime is a project beloved across the globe; originating as a lauded novel in 1975 from E.L. Doctorow (TIME Magazine top 100), being adapted in 1981 into a 8x Oscar nominated film (not a musical) and premiering on Broadway as a musical in 1998 becoming a 12x Tony nominee and 4x Tony winner. The enveloping music, heart wrenching story, proven track record, extremely marketable demographics and a relevant, pertinent political commentary would make for a wonderful movie adaptation of the musical play!
 

I'm proposing that we put together a team to adapt this wonderful project into a musical film that would be destined for further glory.
 

 The musical play has been produced hundreds of times in high-schools, colleges, tours and theaters across the country and world.
With the story focusing on the black, white and immigrant communities, the marketing campaign would be able to reach many corners of the country and world!

 
 

Pre-visualized movie scene "Sarah Brown Eyes"

SHORT SYNOPSIS

At the dawn of the 20th century, everything is changing... and anything is possible. Set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, three distinctly American tales are woven together – that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician – united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. Together, they confront history's timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair... and what it means to live in America.

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MARKETING DEMOGRAPHICS
Women and Men, 18-35

Black, White and Immigrant (Jewish focus) communities

Music and musical lovers
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MOVIE PRODUCTION BUDGET RANGE
$40-80 million

Potential CAST

 
 
 
 

Mother - The consummate wife and mother. A kind woman with incredible moral fiber and the epitome of elegance and social conditioning She very much represents the rapidly changing ideals and cultural norms at-play within the country during this era. She both witnesses and is equally changed by the times in which she lives.

Catherine Zeta-Jones
(Chicago, A Little
Night Music, Oceans
12)

Anne Hathaway
(Les Miserables, 
Dark Knight Rises, 
Princess Diaries)

Emma Thompson
(Sweeney Todd, Men
Black: Int., Beauty & 
The Beast)

Jane Krakowski
(Nine, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 

Guys and Dolls)

Father - Mother’s professionally successful husband. Fancying himself an amateur explorer, he is commanding and enjoys being the family breadwinner. His sense of nostalgia and connection for the past prevents him from adapting to the changing realities of the world in which he exists.

Scott Bakula
(Star Trek: Enterprise, NCIS, Quantum Leap)

Jude Law
(Henry V, Captain Marvel, Anna Karenina)

Hugh Jackman
(Les Miserables, Greatest Showman, Oklahoma, X-Men)

Neil Patrick Harris
(Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Sweeney Todd, How I Met Your Mother)

Jason Alexander
(The Producers, Seinfeld, Everybody Hates Chris)

Michael Ball
(Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray)

Younger Brother - Mother’s younger brother. With his wiry frame and obsessive personality, he is an erratic soul. Influenced greatly by Goldman’s teachings.

Zac Efron
(Greatest Showman, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, High School Musical)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
(Inception, Dark Knight Rises)

Evelyn Nesbitt - Beautiful vaudeville performer. Thrust into the limelight after the high profile murder of her lover, the entire world is her stage.

Anne Hathaway
(Les Miserables, Serenity, Children and Art) 

Anna Kendrick
(Pitch Perfect, Into The Woods, High Society)

Edgar - Mother and Father’s son. He is open-hearted and curious with inexplicable clairvoyance. Never passes judgement on others.

Iain Armitage 
(Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon)

Coalhouse Walker Jr. - A proud and talented pianist. He is sophisticated, with a romantic demeanor and conveys strength, polish, and intelligence. However, internally, he also reflects the unbridled rage experienced by vast numbers of African Americans at the hands of an oft unjust society

Jesse L. Martin
(Rent, The Flash)

Leslie Odum Jr.
(Rent, Dreamgirls,
Hamilton, CSI:Miami)

Taye Diggs
(Rent, Hedwig and the 
Angry Inch, Chicago)

L. Stephen Taylor 
(Lion King)

Cavin Cornwall
(Les Miserables, Aladdin,
Chicago, Porgy & Bess)

Sarah - A washwoman. Sarah initially experiences extreme anguish and depression, but eventually becomes filled with a strong will to live fueled by an innocent spirit. She falls deeply in love with Coalhouse after much resistance. She is young, passionately idealistic, naïve and beautiful.

Cynthia Erivo

(Color Purple)

Denee Benton

(Hamilton)

Renee Elise Goldsberry
(Hamilton)

Loren Lott
(Once On This Island,
American Idol, Young
and the Restless)

Tomi Townsend
(Colony, Underground, Battlefield America)

Syndee Winters

(Lion King)

Kelsey Scott

(12 years a slave, Walking Dead: Passage, How to Get Away with Murder)

Andrea Lewis
(Urinetown, Water

Coolers, For Colored Girls)

Sheila Bette Jones
(Jesus Christ Superstar, Oklahoma, Dreamgirls)

Booker T. Washington - Polished and educated. He embodies and provides the voice of restraint and wisdom for his people in the face the injustices and unimaginably trying circumstances they face.

Brian Stokes Mitchell

(Ragtime, Kiss Me Kate)

Norm Lewis

(Porgy and Bess, Les Mis, Ragtime)

Tateh - The haggard artist and father. He wears the trials and tribulations of his past on his sleeve, but remains optimistic. Full of genuine drive and heart. He displays the struggles of the newly arrived to this country during the turn of the century. Tateh is an imaginably devoted and loving father to his daughter

Sasha Baren Cohen

(Sweeney Todd, Les Mis)

Tony Shalhoub

(The Band's Visit, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Monk)

Zachary Levi

(Shazam, Chuck, First Date, Thor)

Houdini - Embodies the story of an immigrant’s success in America.

Adrian Brody

(The Pianist, Grand Budapest Hotel, Predators)

Emma Goldman - Social activist. With an unapologetically demanding presence, she is a leader and powerful woman. A staunch anarchist, Goldman’s verbalized political zeal is palpable.

Meryl Streep

(Into The Woods, Iron Lady, Mama Mia)

Helena Bonham Carter

(Les Mis, Sweeney Todd)

JP Morgan - Represents the upper .0013% of the country at this time in American history.

Tom Hanks

(Forrest Bump, Saving Private Ryan)

Henry Ford - an innovator. His passion for his business is felt and reflected in every waking second of his life

John C. Reilly

(Chicago, Walk Hard, Step Brothers)

Willie Conklin - The epitome of racial intolerance. Brash, brazen, abrasive, offensive, and just plain ugly.

John Goodman

(Rosanne, Argo)

Sarah's Friend - Fiercely supportive of Sarah. She gets Coalhouse in line and mourns Sarah at her funeral.

Audra McDonald

(Ragtime, Porgy & Bess)

POTENTIAL SHOOTING LOCATIONS
Much of the story takes place in New Rochelle, New York (early 1900s)
New York State - 30% tax credit + 10% for shooting in upstate NYC (75% of expenses before post production must be in NY)

Georgia - 30% tax credit (min of $500K spend)
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POTENTIAL RELEASE DATE WINDOWS
November - January (December limited release for Oscar consideration)
 

ANALYSIS/RESULTS
As seen below, there is a clear trend of successful musicals opening around the Christmas/New Year holiday. Some successful musicals opened up in the middle of the Summer (Mama Mia, Hairspray, Moulin Rouge), but that was before the modern summer "tentpole" era.

The occasional film would open around November (Rent, Black Nativity), but I could not find any examples of that being a successful opening date for a musical. That could be due to competition with Black Friday and the beginning of the shopping season. Christmas/New Years is the most desirable release window.

 
 
 

Similar films - Success!
Release dates - Box office results

Les Miserables

$61m - Production Budget

$148m - Domestic

$441m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/12

2814 theatres, $9,695 per screen

$83m - Disc Sales

Chicago 
$45m - Production Budget

$170m - Domestic

$306m - Worldwide
Opening weekend - 1/24/03
616 theatres, $13,375 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Lala Land

$30m - Production Budget

$151m - Domestic

$446m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/16

734 theaters, $12,942 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Mamma Mia
$52m - Production Budget

$144m - Domestic

$609m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 7/18/08

2976 theatres, $9,325 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Hairspray
$75m - Production Budget

$118m - Domestic

$202m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 07/20/07

3,121 theatres, $8,803 per screen
$104m - Dom. Video Sales

Greatest Showman

$84m - Production Budget

$174m - Domestic

$434m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/20/17

3006 theatres, $2,929 per screen

$70m - Dom. Video Sales

Sweeney Todd

$50m - Production Budget

$52m - Domestic

$152m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/21/07

1,249 theatres, $7,446 per screen
$41m - Dom. Video Sales

Moulin Rougue

$50m - Production Budget

$57m - Domestic

$179m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 06/01/01

2,279 theatres, $6,019 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Into The Woods
$50m - Production Budget

$128m - Domestic

$213m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/14

2440 theatres, $12,726 per screen

$27m - Dom. Video Sales

Phantom of the Opera

$70m - Production Budget

$51m - Domestic

$154m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/22/04

622 theatres, $6,433 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Dreamgirls
$70m - Production Budget

$103m - Domestic

$154m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/06

852 theatres, $16,549 per screen
$95m - Dom. Video Sales

Annie

$65m - Production Budget

$85m - Domestic

$133m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/19/14

3,116 theatres, $5,090 per screen

$18m - Dom. Video Sales

Evita

$55m - Production Budget

$50m - Domestic

$141m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/96

704 theatres, $11,904 per screen
n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Rent

$40m - Production Budget

$29m - Domestic

$31m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 11/23/05

2,433 theatres, $4,116 per screen

$31m - Dom. Video Sales

The Producers

$45m - Production Budget

$19m - Domestic

$38m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 01/16/05

975 theatres, $3,388 per screen

$5m - Dom. Video Sales

Similar films - UNSuccessful
Release dates - Box office results

Black Nativity

$17.5m - Production Budget

$7m - Domestic

$7.4m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 11/27/13

1516 theatres, $2,421 per screen

$126k - Dom. Video Sales

Rock of Ages

$75m - Production Budget

$38m - Domestic

$59m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 06/15/12

3,470 theatres, $4,161 per screen
$17m - Dom. Video Sales

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