It was only a matter of time: The filmed version of Hamilton on Broadway will now premiere July 3 on Disney+, Disney announced Tuesday morning.
That’s a major shift in the timeline. Hamilton was supposed to arrive in theaters on October 15, 2021. It’s now been moved up by 15 months instead. But if Disney is going to move around any major release, Hamilton makes the most sense, because it’s already been filmed. Thomas Kail, who directed both the stage production and the movie, built the movie out of three live Broadway performances shot in 2016, featuring the entire original Broadway cast.
Disney is working hard, however, to make the case that the film won’t just be like one of the versions of filmed plays you can see on PBS Great Performances, but a true cinematic experience. In a press release, it’s billing the filmed Hamilton as “a leap forward in the art of ‘live capture,’” which Disney says combines “the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming.”
“No other artistic work in the last decade has had the cultural impact of Hamilton—an inspiring and captivating tale told and performed in a powerfully creative way. In light of the extraordinary challenges facing our world, this story about leadership, tenacity, hope, love, and the power of people to unite against the forces of adversity is both relevant and impactful,” said Bob Iger, executive chair of the Walt Disney Company. “We are thrilled to bring this phenomenon to Disney+ on the eve of Independence Day, and we have the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda and the team behind Hamilton to thank for allowing us to do so more than a year before planned.”
“I’m so proud of how beautifully Tommy Kail has brought Hamilton to the screen. He’s given everyone who watches this film the best seat in the house,” said Lin-Manuel Miranda. “I’m so grateful to Disney and Disney+ for reimagining and moving up our release to July Fourth weekend of this year, in light of the world turning upside down. I’m so grateful to all the fans who asked for this, and I’m so glad that we’re able to make it happen. I’m so proud of this show. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
When Hamilton premiered on Broadway in the summer of 2015, it played as a triumph of globalist cosmopolitanism. Its portrait of the Founding Fathers as flawed but well-meaning great men working hard to build a country of greater freedom and equality felt both old-fashioned and freshly contemporary, and critics celebrated it accordingly.
Since then, the world has turned upside down indeed. Cosmopolitanism is no longer the reigning ideology of the day, and the ways in which America has failed to offer its citizens the freedom and equality it promised grow more evident every day.
The early release of Hamilton is meant to be a balm to a nation in pain. But what remains to be seen is whether the show’s deep optimism and faith in the possibility of America will be able to comfort the world as Miranda hopes — or whether it will be another reminder of all we have lost instead.
Correction: A previous version of this article said that Hamilton premiered on Broadway in 2016. It premiered in 2015.