1979. Amadeus made $51.6 million at the box office, while Bird was a flop with $2.2 million. What’s Love Got To Do With It generated only $39 million. La Vie En Rose has made only $10 million in the U.S., and I’m Not There has made $4 million to date.
Ray and Walk the Line, however, were hits. Ray brought in $75 million domestically and $124 million worldwide, while Walk the Line made $120 million in the U.S. and $186 million worldwide.
Casting and marketing will be key for the Marley film, particularly given that the talented, Grammy award-winning Hill, whose big screen roles include Sister Act 2, has not done a movie since 2000’s Turn It Up. Though her 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was a blockbuster multiplatinum disc, earning ten Grammy nominations and winning album of the year, she has not had an album since 2002’s MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, ancient history in today’s hyper-paced pop culture landscape. Debatably, the role of Bob needs to be played by a marquee star who, by name alone, can put bodies in seats at the multiplex. A legend like Bob Marley deserves no less.
George Alexander’s column on the business of entertainment appears weekly at blackenterprise.com. He is the author of “Why We Make Movies” (Random House, $15.95).