Whitney's Final Film Performance Hits Theaters in August


It's been less than a day since Whitney Houston died, but the show must go on. And that doesn't just refer to the Grammys, which will air tonight as scheduled. MTV News reports that Sparkle, Houston's final film and her first since 1996's The Preacher's Wife, will be released in August.

"Sparkle" is a remake of the 1976 Irene Cara film about three talented young musicians who struggle with addiction. The 2012 version features "American Idol" alum Jordin Sparks as the titular character Sparkle and Houston, who also served as executive producer after having acquired the rights to the film more than a decade ago, as her mother, Emma.

For those eager to point out the obvious — that Sparkle focuses on the same addiction struggle that likely contributed to Houston's untimely death — congratulations on your keen perceptive skills. Given that Houston acquired the rights to retell the story, perhaps she did feel a personal attachment to the material.

Now's probably a good time to prepare yourself for an ad campaign that will no doubt remind you Sparkle is your last chance to see Houston on the big screen — barring a 3D re-release of The Bodyguard. Let's hope the trailers tastefully pay homage to Houston's work instead of exploiting the tragedy.

Sparkle's producer Bishop T.D. Jakes released a statement on Houston's passing last night.

We are deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely passing of Whitney Houston, whom we were blessed to have just completed work with on the remake of the film "Sparkle." We ask the world to join us in lifting up Whitney's family in prayer and ask God for their strength and comfort during this devastatingly difficult time. At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation. She has left behind a musical and film legacy that will endure. ... She will be sorely missed by us all.

While co-producer Howard Rosenman called Houston's performance in Sparkle "unbelievably fantastic," it's hard to say whether this film will be more Joyful Noise or Dreamgirls. If it's the latter, might we see a posthumous Oscar nomination for Houston in 2013? We know how much the Academy loves to honor performers who have passed. At the very least, a tribute to Houston by way of a nod for Best Original Song seems likely — but then, we need to make it through this year's show first.

[Image via AP]