Although it was technically released in 2017 on Boxing Day, The Greatest Showman has undoubtedly been the most talked about movie of 2018.
The hit musical, based on the life of P.T. Barnum and starring Hugh Jackman in the title role, was a runaway success and has grossed over £350 million at the global box office. It’s the best-selling DVD and Blu-ray of 2018 by some distance, the soundtrack is the best-selling album of the year, and it’s also the most searched for movie of the last 12 months with Yahoo users.
We caught up with the film’s director Michael Gracey to toast the film’s success, and to find out what’s next for the all-conquering musical extravaganza.
The Greatest Showman has been a phenomenal success – it’s the most searched-for film of 2018 on Yahoo – why do you think it has resonated with people, particularly here in the UK?
Michael Gracey: One of the main themes of our film is the importance of family. We see this both with Barnum’s own family and the one he creates in the circus. Family loves and supports you through whatever success or failure you experience in life. I think this timeless message resonates with people, especially during the holidays.
I also think the film carries an important message about self-acceptance. At the end of the day, we all look in the mirror and tend to see our own self-perceived flaws. So to watch a film that celebrates what it is to be different and unique, it just connects with audiences — no matter who you are.
What’s been the most amazing “pinch yourself” moment you’ve had since the film was released?
Having been all over the world, I’ve seen the number of people that our film has positively impacted. I’ve listened to the incredible stories they’ve shared. I’ve always believed in the power of cinema, but to experience firsthand that you can have an idea, create it, and have audiences from all walks of life respond to it in such unique and powerful ways… it is truly humbling.
Is there a chance of more Greatest Showman in the future – a Broadway show, a sequel, an extended edition?
There will definitely be a Broadway musical at some point. Songwriters Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and I all workshopped the film very much like it was a stage production as a way of testing and improving it, both musically and narratively. It’s an incredibly powerful piece when performed live.
Will you be going to see Hugh Jackman on his world tour?
Of course! I’ve seen Hugh perform his one-man shows many times, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing his latest world tour. He is the ultimate showman!
The Greatest Showman is out on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download now.