- UPDATE: November 02, 2008 – See update article at the Sunday Times, where Judy Craymer thankfully effectively puts an end to any credible sequel rumours. Thanks also to Ian Cole.
By Baz Bamigboye:
The name of the game is that the movie Mamma Mia! has taken so much money, money, money (so much, in fact, that you have to say it three times) that a sequel would be like honey, honey.
A Hollywood studio chief who has seen the film take more than half a billion dollars worldwide told me ‘it makes sense’ to explore the possibility of making a follow-up picture, which would have to star Meryl Streep and fellow cast members such as Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters and Colin Firth.
It would take some time to put together, so perhaps the new film project could be called Grandmamma Mia.
Top executive David Linde, co-chairman of Universal Pictures, the studio behind the movie, told me he would be delighted if Judy Craymer, the force behind the stage show and the film, writer Catherine Johnson and director Phyllida Lloyd could be persuaded to develop a storyline for a sequel. Abba song writers Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus would also have to agree to the project.
‘There are plenty of songs left,’ Linde said cheerfully. But as Ms Craymer observed when I contacted her: ‘It’s something that’ll take quite a lot of time and thought.
‘What’s more, we haven’t even discussed it among ourselves. It’s something exciting to think about – and something that you’d need to be passionate about. You couldn’t rush into it.’
She’s right because here’s the thing: Mamma Mia! looks deceptively easy on both stage and screen, but the whole thing has been carefully structured with strong underpinning, and each song carefully chosen.
As a thank-you, following the success of the film, Universal have given the three creative women behind Mamma Mia! – Craymer, Johnson and Lloyd – the gift of holidays, anywhere in the world. A perfect set up to consider a sequel?
Some critics were very snooty about the movie, missing the point entirely. Colin Firth, who played one of the film’s ‘dads’, put his finger on it when he said that the secret of the film’s success was that, with its Greek island setting, it was like a ‘virtual holiday’ – about the only kind many of us will be able to afford soon.
Mamma Mia! has done particularly well in the UK and is within striking distance of supplanting Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone as the second-highest grossing film in the UK. (The DVD of Mamma Mia! will be released on November 24.)
Some even think that third-placed Mamma Mia!, which has UK takings of more than £65 million (and that doesn’t include soundtrack and T-shirt sales) could eventually displace No 1 Brit film Titanic, which took £69 million in the UK after its release in 1997.