Award-winning hip-hop musical Hamilton is set to hit screens on the eve of US independence day – 15 months earlier than the initial plan.
The announcement is a major shift from what was originally planned in February, when the show’s creator, as well as Disney, said that record-breaking production would get a cinema and streaming release in October 2021.
Hamilton tells the story of America’s independence and the subsequent battle for control through the eyes of founding father Alexander Hamilton, set to a hip-hop and pop soundtrack.
Productions of the ground-breaking show are currently running on the West End and Broadway, but have temporarily stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, the show’s creator Lin Manuel-Miranda said: “I’m so grateful to Disney and Disney Plus for reimagining and moving up our release to 4 July weekend of this year, in light of the world turning upside down.
“I’m so grateful to all the fans who asked for this, and I’m so glad that we’re able to make it happen. I’m so proud of this show. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
The production, which has an almost exclusively BAME cast, is thought to be the most expensive acquisition of a single film ever made, with Disney buying the rights to the groundbreaking show for $75m (£57.5m).
More from Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Dr Anthony Fauci’s warning against rush to reopen puts him on collision course with Trump
Coronavirus: Care homes ‘almost compelled’ to take people who may have COVID-19
Getting back to work & the killer in our care homes
Coronavirus: Prosecution threat for firms who fail to make premises ‘COVID secure’
Coronavirus: McDonald’s announces phase two of plan to reopen its restaurants
Coronavirus: Queen joins royal telephone calls to thank nurses
Rather than being a brand-new movie based on the show, the broadcast is an exclusive recording of the Broadway stage production, performed by the original US cast, filmed across three nights at the Richard Rogers theatre.
The change in release comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the entertainment industry hard.
Last week, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek said that the pandemic had cost the firm $1.4bn (£1.1bn) in lost profits so far, after it shut its theme parks around the world, and held back its film releases.
However, the company’s streaming service, Disney+, which will be the home to Hamilton in July, has vastly exceeded the company’s expectations, with 54 million people around the world signing up to the site.
:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Equity, the trade union that represents actors in the UK, wrote an open letter to the chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday, asking for more support for creative industries, adding that theatres may not open until early 2021, meaning creatives may be at risk.
Disney executive chairman Bob Iger said: “We are thrilled to bring this phenomenon to Disney+ on the eve of Independence Day, and we have the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda and the team behind ‘Hamilton’ to thank for allowing us to do so more than a year before planned.”