Dream Girls' Stars, Anika Noni Rose, Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson. The film was released for limited viewing on December 15, and for everyone on December 25 of 2006.
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Directed by Bill Condon
Produced by Laurence Mark
David Geffen (co-producer)
Leeann Stonebreaker (associate producer)
Patricia Whitcher (executive producer)
Written by Bill Condon
Tom Eyen (book, Dreamgirls stage musical)
Starring Jamie Foxx
Anika Noni Rose
Music by Henry Krieger & Tom Eyen (songs from Dreamgirls stage musical)
Henry Krieger, Anne Preven, Scott Cutler & Beyoncé Knowles (song "Listen")
Henry Krieger & Siedah Garrett (songs "Love You I Do" and "Perfect World")
Henry Krieger & Willie Reale (song "Patience")
The Underdogs (producers, all songs)
Stephen Trask (score)
Cinematography Tobias A. Schliessler
Editing by Virginia Katz
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures (USA/Canada only)
Paramount Pictures (worldwide, including North American sales)
Release date(s) December 15, 2006 (limited road show)
December 25, 2006 (expanded)
January 19, 2007 (wide)
Running time 131 min.
Dreamgirls is a 2006 American musical film jointly produced and released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures. The film was released in three special road show engagements beginning December 15, 2006, with the wide release occurring on December 25, 2006.
Although it only opened in three theatres Dec. 15 — playing roadshow screenings at Manhattan's Ziegfeld Theatre, Hollywood's Cinerama Dome and San Francisco's Metreon — the new DreamWorks/Paramount film "Dreamgirls" has already broken a box-office record. The New York Post reports that the film brought in an estimated $360,000, averaging $120,000 per theatre. That number is the highest per-screen opening ever for a movie musical.
"Dreamgirls" is currently playing ten days at the three theatres with a $25 ticket price. The film, which was recently nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, will open nationwide Dec. 25.
A musical film set in the 1960s and 1970s with a predominantly African-American cast, Dreamgirls is adapted from the 1981 Broadway musical of the same name, which itself is loosely based upon the lives and careers of Motown act The Supremes. The film follows the lives of three women - Effie White, Deena Jones, and Lorrell Robinson - who, as members of an R&B singing group called "The Dreamettes", become famous as the backing group for soul singer James "Thunder" Early, thanks to manipulative manager and record label executive Curtis Taylor, Jr. Conflict arises when Curtis desires to transform the Dreamettes into "The Dreams", a pop-friendly act, particularly when he has Deena replace the overweight and less-attractive Effie as both lead singer of the group and as his romantic interest.
The film adaptation, which had been in development at various times during the 1980s and 1990s, stars Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, and Eddie Murphy, also featuring Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson, Sharon Leal, Hinton Battle, and, in her film debut, Jennifer Hudson (of American Idol fame). Dreamgirls was written and directed for the screen by Bill Condon, screenwriter of the Academy Award-winning film adaptation of Chicago, working from the original Broadway book by Tom Eyen and the Broadway songs by Eyen and Henry Krieger.
The film begins in Detroit, Michigan in 1962, as an amateur Black girl group known as The Dreamettes enter a local talent competition. Backstage, the three girls - who include full-figured lead singer and group founder Effie White (Jennifer Hudson) and her bandmates Deena Jones (Beyoncé Knowles) and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) - meet Curtis Taylor, Jr., an ambitious Cadillac dealer with plans of breaking into the music business. Placing himself as their manager, Curtis arranges for them to tour as backup for a regional R&B star, James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy). The tour takes the company - also including Effie's songwriting brother C.C. (Keith Robinson) and Jimmy's manager Marty (Danny Glover) - across the country on the chitlin' circuit. The experience convinces Curtis that black artists deserve the opportunity for crossover success.
Curtis starts his own record label, Rainbow Records, out of his car dealership's office, and makes C.C. his head songwriter and producer. However, when Rainbow's first single fails after a white pop group releases a cover version, Curtis and his sidekick Wayne (Hinton Battle) turns to payola. By paying the right people, Curtis manages to get Jimmy and the Dreamettes to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and into a headlining gig at the Apollo Theater. Jimmy and the Dreamettes go on tour; while on the road, Curtis begins an affair with Effie, and Jimmy - a married man - begins an adulterous relationship with Lorrell.
Marty, frustrated by Curtis' plans to make Jimmy's image more pop-friendly, walks out on his client. However, when Curtis finds that he cannot completely remake Jimmy Early into a pop act, he shifts his attention back to the Dreamettes. Feeling that Effie's voice is too "churchy" and her figure too large to attract white audiences, Curtis appoints the slimmer Deena as the lead singer of the Dreamettes. With the aid of new songs and a new image, Curtis and C.C. transform The Dreamettes into The Dreams, a top selling pop act. Effie does not take kindly to being reduced to Deena's backup, and begins acting out, becoming even more unruly when she suspects Deena of trying to steal Curtis from her. Finally, Curtis can take no more, and replaces Effie with his secretary, Michelle Morris (Sharon Leal).
As the years progress, a heartbroken and depressed Effie ends up a single mother on welfare, while Deena Jones & the Dreams and Rainbow records become music industry giants. However, success creates new problems for each of the characters, who each eventually attempt to deal with their private trap, and attempt to find a way out.
Since the 1980s, several different attempts have been made to produce a film adaptation of Dreamgirls, a Broadway musical loosely based upon the story of The Supremes and Motown Records. The original Broadway production of Dreamgirls starred Sheryl Lee Ralph as Deena Jones, Jennifer Holliday as Effie White, Loretta Devine as Lorrell Robinson, Ben Harney as Curtis Taylor, Jr., Cleavant Derricks as James "Thunder" Early, and Obba Babatunde as C. C. White. In 1982, Holliday, Harney, and Derricks all received Tony Awards for their performances. The musical also won Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical (Tom Eyen), Best Choreography (Michael Bennett & Michael Peters), and Best Lighting Design (Tharon Musser). Jennifer Holliday won a Grammy Award for her rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", and the original Broadway cast album won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best Cast Show Album.
David Geffen, the stage musical's co-financier, retained the film rights to Dreamgirls, although he turned down many offers to adapt the story for the screen, feeling a need to preserve the integrity of Dreamgirls stage director Michael Bennett's work after his 1987 death.. Geffen, who ran his Warner Bros-associated Geffen Pictures film production company at the time, began talks with Broadway lyricist and producer Howard Ashman to adapt it as a star vehicle for Whitney Houston, who was to portray Deena. The production ran into problems when Houston wanted to sing both Deena and Effie's songs (particularly "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"), and the film was eventually abandoned.
When David Geffen co-founded DreamWorks SKG in 1994 and dissolved Geffen Pictures, the rights to Dreamgirls remained with Warner Bros. Warner planned to go ahead with the film, to have been directed by Joel Schumacher, in the late 1990s following the success of the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do with It (1993). This version was to star Lauryn Hill as Deena and Kelly Price as Effie. After Warner's Frankie Lymon biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love failed at the box office, the studio shut down development on Dreamgirls.
DreamWorks' Dreamgirls adaptation came about after the film version of the Broadway musical Chicago was a success at both the box office and the Academy Awards. Screenwriter and director Bill Condon, who wrote the screenplay for Chicago, met producer Laurence Mark at a Hollywood party in 2002, where the two discussed a long held "dream project" of Condon's - adapting Dreamgirls for the screen. They were able to convince David Geffen to lease them the rights to the musical by presenting Condon's concept of tellng the Dreamgirls story in a larger context, incorporating the significant changes and events that took place in the United States during the American Civil Rights Movement which occurs at the time of the story.