As reported by Daily Variety, the movie is described as a cross between Dumb and Dumber and Jumanji, telling the story of two brothers who move into a house and find themselves outsmarted by a mouse living there. The movie is written by Adam Rifkin and will be helmed by Gore Verbinski, who will make his feature film directing debut after winning Clio awards for his Nike and Budweiser commercials. No co-star has been announced for the picture, which will follow The Lion King and The Birdcage to become Lane's third straight feature with an animal name in its title.
Of particular interest to theatergoers is the February '97 start date for filming the movie. This indicates that Lane has either opted not to renew his one-year contract with Forum (which expires February) or will take an extended leave from the musical.
The news of the movie deal is sure to be troubling to Forum producers, for whom the potency of Lane's drawing power was vividly highlighted the first week in September by boxoffice figures just released. While understudy Bob Amaral filled in for a vacationing Lane that week, Forum's boxoffice take dropped precipitously to $215,000, from the previous week's $575,000. Even taking into account the soft business experienced by all shows the week after Labor Day, the 63% drop dwarfs even the 30% fall-off experienced by the much-publicized vacation Glenn Close took from Sunset Boulevard in March 1995.
The boxoffice take may be a harbinger of things to come if Forum producers are unable to find a replacement of significant magnitude to fill Lane's shoes. It's worthy to note that producers of How to Succeed in Business..., some of whom are involved with Forum, chose to close that show when Matthew Broderick's contract expired in June 1996. Asked for a reaction to the boxoffice nosedive and how it would influence producers' decision whether or not to keep the show open after Lane departs, press representative Jackie Green stated that all shows experienced a drop in receipts last week (indeed, the 15 Broadway musicals currently playing registered on average a $100,000 dip) and all ticket purchasers had been warned of Lane's absence well in advance. Green added that producers are investigating possible replacements for Lane, but no decisions have been made.