This summer, Grease, the most popular movie musical of all time (as Olivia Newton-John recently reminded us on Glee) will hit theaters in sing-along form. This means the lyrics to all of the film's memorable tunes, from "Summer Nights" to "You're the One That I Want," will appear on the screen so the audience can join in the fun. This concept doesn't sound much different than what fans of musicals do when watching these movies in the privacy of their own homes, but I'd still gladly buy a ticket for the right to belt along with my favorite musicals while watching them on the big screen. It's about damn time Hollywood reached out to the I-just-gotta-sing-along demographic. Here are some more movies we'd like to see get the karaoke treatment:
The late '80s/early '90s quartet of animated Disney masterpieces
You know the four I'm talking about: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. You grew up with these movies, and they still hold some kind of otherworldly power over you. You can't hear "Part of Your World" without feeling a strange urge to brush your hair with a fork. The opening chords to "Be Our Guest" have you behaving differently around your household china. "A Whole New World" reminds you of the boy you hoped would take you on a magic carpet ride back in sixth grade, and you even still remember what the heck "Hakuna Matata" meant. You look forward to the day you'll be able to share these films with your own children, but worry that their 21st-century brains won't be able to process the 2-D animation. So in the meantime, wouldn't it be great to join the rest of your generation in a darkened theater to recapture your childhood in song for a night? You know you still remember the words.
Rock 'n' Roll High School
The Ramones formed their band in the spirit of the idea that anyone can create music. It would be a great way to honor that spirit to allow everyone in the theater to sing along to their raucous musical comedy. This is one movie where, instead of cheap snacks, you'll be tempted to sneak in guitars and drum sets.
The Internet has spawned some great short-form movie musicals, most notably Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog. Why not bring these cult favorites to the big screen both to give their devoted fans a thrill and introduce them to the Luddites who still have to ask, "What's a YouTube?"
Really bad movie versions of great Broadway musicals
The multiplex has not been a happy place for Broadway fans these past 10 years. Sure, Mamma Mia! made a bazillion dollars and Chicago won a few Oscars, but Nine was an embarrassment, Rent didn't translate well to the screen, and someone seriously thought it was a good idea to give Gerard Butler the title role in The Phantom of the Opera. It was never the story or the music that failed in these movies, just the casting and the execution. Maybe seeing them would actually be enjoyable if the audience could sing along and collectively drown out the movies' failures? I'm pretty sure the crowd at my local theater could belt out ABBA songs at least as well as Meryl Streep.
Here's where we start to see the bigger picture. It's already been proven that people enjoy singing along to movies, but for many, the urge to get up and dance along with the ladies of Bring it On or the dance crews of Step Up is just as strong. Why not start building theaters with dance floors so the audience can truly have a good time? Hollywood keeps looking for ways to make movies interactive (this is why you've spent so much time in 3-D glasses this summer), but maybe instead of looking for new technology to make filmgoing an experience that feels more like a video game, the answer is to literally get the audience on their feet.