EXCLUSIVE AND UPDATED: Fox 2000 has beat out Universal Pictures by paying north of $2 million for a pitch by Susannah Grant and rights to songs from the Beach Boys song catalogue that will form the basis for an original musical that Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, and John Stamos (who used to regularly sit in with the band in more modern times) will produce. The template for the film is to do with the Beach Boys songs what the global blockbuster Mamma Mia! did with Abba. This is not a biopic of the famous musical group; instead the Beach Boys serve as a backdrop for an original narrative. According to the log line: “The story takes place in Southern California over a summer in the 60′s. It’s inspired by the sounds of the Beach Boys music and the beach culture of that time.” Much like Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried belted out Abba tunes in Mamma Mia!, the idea will be to pack the film with a cast that will sing Beach Boys standards. The 2 studios bid hard on the original musical and I heard both tendered 7-figure bids for Grant’s pitch. The trio of producers already teamed The Beach Boys: An American Family, a biographical ABC miniseries about the band.
Considering how much Beach Boys tunes are indelibly linked to movies that include American Graffiti to Love Actually (how perfect was the tune God Only Knows in the film’s finale?), there is potential for a movie lined with Brian Wilson’s genius compositions, particularly in the capable hands of Fox 2000 chief Elizabeth Gabler, who draws top directors.