Walt Disney Studios is in development on an original musical movie, which will be based on the music of singer Lionel Richie. The film will reportedly be called All Night Long (based on one of Richie's biggest hit songs), and will "use some of Richie's greatest hits in a live-action project in early stages of development, with a theatrical release in mind. Lionel Richie will be involved as a producer on the film, alongside Bruce Eskowitz, his manager and Cavalry Media's Dana Brunetti and Matt Del Piano. Crazy Rich Asians writer Pete Chiarelli is attached as the screenwriter.
Variety reports that Lionel Richie sold the pitch to Disney back in January and that the project is in the vein of other "jukebox musicals" and/or biopics like Mamma Mia, Rocketman, or Bohemian Rhapsody, which have all been successful box office hits.
Lionel Richie's list of hits is long and could make for an interesting cinematic journey if you really stop to look at it. His upbeat hits like "All Night Long" and "Dancing On the Ceiling" contrast nicely with slower, soulful ballads like "Say You, Say Me" and "My Love", with truly unique Richie-brand songs like "Hello" and "You Are". If Richie's recordings with The Commodores are also on the table, then there's an even bigger range of hit and musical samplings that would be interesting to see on film.
Many of Richie's hit songs also have a definite Afro-Caribbean / calypso vibe, which begs the question of what kind of world this Disney film will create. That question also extends down to the cast and type of directorial vision we could see; one thing is for sure, though: the notion of a Lionel Richie cinematic musical is, at the very least, intriguing.
More intriguing will be seeing the effect on Hollywood if this Lionel Richie musical becomes a hit. Disney loves to franchise a money-making idea, and this would definitely be that if it works out. Different musical artists, from a variety of genres, could end up creating a nice variety of cinematic visions, which pulls in wide demographics of viewers.
Lionel Richie currently holds four Grammys and has sold over 100 million records, globally. He's been nominated for three Oscars with one win, for the 1986 song "Say You Say Me" from White Nights; he was also nominated for two Golden Globes, winning one of those, as well.