Logan director James Mangold has won the good friend award for helping with reshoots and editing on the Hugh Jackman musical The Greatest Showman. Mangold and Jackman previously worked together on the aforementioned Logan, on 2013’s The Wolverine, and on 2001’s Kate & Leopold. Michael Gracey directed the movie for principal photography from a script by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon.
Hugh Jackman stars in The Greatest Showman as P.T. Barnum, the founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The movie tracks Barnum’s rise from humble beginnings to become one of the 19th Century’s most iconic figures. Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya also star. 20th Century Fox produced the film, long a passion project of Jackman’s, for a reported $84 million. Director Gracey helped shepherd the project for years and was given director duties despite having no feature film experience.
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Variety reports that 20th Century Fox finally grew concerned enough about The Greatest Showman to hire veteran James Mangold to help Michael Gracey complete the film. Mangold reportedly oversaw a week of reshoots, and also supervised editing and post-production. The director received an executive producer credit and a seven-figure salary as a result of his efforts.
Variety reports that Fox became concerned the pressures of a major production threatened to overwhelm the inexperienced Gracey. However, a studio source told Variety that Gracey himself directed reshoots after completing principal photography. The source calls Mangold’s role on the film at most an “advisory” one, and Variety notes that est audiences responded more favorably to the film after adding of the new footage.
Fox may not have had the utmost confidence in Gracey, but the fact that the studio only needed Mangold for a week of reshoots is perhaps an encouraging sign. Other recent productions have required much more significant reworking. For instance, Solo: A Star Wars Story was almost entirely reshot by Ron Howard after original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired. Justice League also underwent extensive reshoots under Joss Whedon which altered the movie’s tone (to the chagrin of fans who would’ve preferred a darker Zack Snyder cut).
Unfortunately, all 20th Century Fox and James Mangold’s efforts may prove to be for naught. Critics have panned The Greatest Showman, which holds just a 50% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film does have a more positive audience score on the review aggregation site, at 86%. The movie will face stiff box office competition from hold-over The Last Jedi and new release Jumanji. Will Hugh Jackman’s appeal be enough to lift The Greatest Showman to a solid showing despite everything? Musicals can sometimes be big draws around the holidays, as adult audiences seek an alternative to the usual fare.
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