While I do think the domestic release of the Miles Davis biopic will bring with it a hefty share of media coverage/hype, critical debate, awards discussion and positive ticket sales (I can only assume), I can foresee the film doing big business abroad — perhaps even better abroad versus in the U.S.
There’s the whole jazz appreciation angle; this isn’t the ‘40s and ‘50s and whatever Wynton Marsalis is doing right now, or whatever Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, etc. did back in the day, does not carry the pop culture/media weight today to battle the mindless candy from Britney, Miley or whichever rap/pop star is hot this second.
Yes, jazz fans are everywhere. Many are longtime devotees; many are just discovering the music. But jazz is definitely on the fringe for better or worse. There is the nostalgic element, with almost mythic figures like Armstrong, Bird, Coltrane and Miles, carrying the torch and deemed too damn cool and too damn important not to know about or listen to, so that helps. That built-in, old school nostalgia might help the Miles Davis biopic as well.
The Ken Burns documentary didn’t hurt either.
I think jazz is more popular in Europe and elsewhere. But I could be wrong. It’s presumption. But I can see the Miles Davis biopic attracting big, ticket sales in Europe and Japan.