Razzle Dazzle 'Em: "Chicago" Opens Wide February 7

News   Razzle Dazzle 'Em: "Chicago" Opens Wide February 7 The Golden Globe Award-winning film of the hit Kander and Ebb musical opens wide Feb. 7. Miramax said that as of Tuesday, Feb. 4, "Chicago" has grossed nearly $52 million while playing on only 623 screens.
Ren
Ren (Photo by David James)

A Miramax spokesperson confirmed that the Rob Marshall-directed motion picture will be playing 1,500 screens as of Feb. 7. The film will continue to open in additional movie houses in the next few weeks, playing 2,000 screens over the Valentine's Day weekend and 2,500 screens the weekend after that.

Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger and Richard Gere, "Chicago" debuted in the top-20 markets Dec. 27 and then opened at 300 other screens Jan. 3. The much-in-the-news film had another limited expansion Jan. 17 — for a total of 557 screens — and a further expansion Jan. 24. The wide release comes just a few days before this year's Oscar nominations: The 75th Anniversary Academy Award nominations will be announced Feb. 11, and it is expected that the movie musical will garner a slew of nominations.

The soundtrack (Epic Records) to the film is also doing well, having sold 255,000 units to date.

*

Featuring a star-studded cast led by Zellweger (Roxie Hart), Zeta-Jones (Velma Kelly) and Gere (Billy Flynn), the "Chicago" company also includes John C. Reilly (Amos Hart), Dominic West (Fred Caseley), Christine Baranski (Mary Sunshine), Queen Latifah (Mama Morton) as well as Taye Diggs, Colm Feore, Lucy Liu, Mya, Marc Calamia, Deidre Goodwin, Sebastian La Cause, Mary Ann Lamb and a cameo from original Chicago star Chita Rivera. Marshall, the choreographer of Broadway's Kiss of the Spider Woman and the revivals of Damn Yankees, She Loves Me, Cabaret and Little Me, directed the $45 million film, his motion-picture debut. Bill Condon wrote the "Chicago" screenplay for Miramax Studios, and the film's cinematographer was Dion Beebe. The Tony-winning lighting team of Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer lit the film.

John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical, which features such songs as "All That Jazz," "Mister Cellophane," "Class" and "Nowadays," debuted on Broadway in June 1975 with choreography by the late Bob Fosse and a cast led by Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach. The Tony-winning revival opened in November 1996 with Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, Joel Grey and James Naughton in the lead roles. Featuring direction by Walter Bobbie and choreography by Reinking "in the style of Bob Fosse," the musical satire recently reopened at the Ambassador Theatre Jan. 29 after a lengthy run at the Shubert.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and ensemble in the film, <i>Chicago</i>
Catherine Zeta-Jones and ensemble in the film, Chicago (Photo by David James)