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I don't think Evita gets enough credit for its contributions to the rebirth of the movie musical.
Last Edit: DanielVincent 03:52 pm EDT 08/01/20
Posted by: DanielVincent 03:40 pm EDT 08/01/20
In reply to: re: Film director/screenwriter ("Evita") Alan Parker has died - Michael_Portantiere 02:44 pm EDT 08/01/20

As you alluded to, there are, of course, a lot of mixed feelings toward the film and Madonna's performance, not to mention the musical itself. However, if we try to look at the film's reception--both critically and commercially--as objectively as possible, I think it's reasonable to characterize it as a qualified success. Box Office Mojo estimates its budget as $55 million and its worldwide gross as $141,047,179, $50 million of which was domestic. Reviews were on the positive side of mixed and it picked up several Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, winning Best Original Song at the former ceremony (arguably a more significant win for a musical film than a non-musical) and Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, and Best Original Song at the latter ceremony.

Though I don't know anyone connected to the film, I think it's reasonable to assume that there were higher hopes for it at the Oscars, especially for Madonna's performance, and for its domestic box office. Nevertheless, Evita proved that a big budget, live action, wide release movie musical was commercially and critically viable--which many had doubted for years. When we think about the life of the movie musical, the apex of its modern resurgence is often described as Chicago, which, despite my own mixed feelings about the movie, I also think is reasonable. People often point to the Ashman/Menken/Rice/John animated Disney movies and the Zadan/Meron telemusicals, especially Cinderella and Gypsy, as having paved the way for Chicago--and deservedly so.

But I think people undercredit Evita's significance. Like the Disney musicals, it was a wide release feature film; like the telemusicals, it was live action and a showcase for major celebrities* of the day. It's important connective tissue.

*And let's not forget how important celebrities are in getting films financed. I'm sure many were interested in signing on to later projects like Chicago, Hairspray, Into the Woods, and Nine because of the awards circuit love enjoyed by actors in these earlier projects: Madonna, Golden Globe winner for Evita; Antonio Banderas, Golden Globe nominee for Evita; Bette Midler, Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee for Gypsy; Kathy Bates, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee for Annie; and, if we're willing to consider Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows a musical, then Judy Davis, Golden Globe and Emmy winner, and Tammy Blanchard, Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winner.
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