J.Lo finished making new album ‘This Is Me… Now.’ Then she wanted to ‘do something that had never been done before.’ Enter: 2 new movies.

J.Lo finished making new album 'This Is Me... Now.' Then she wanted to 'do something that had never been done before.' Enter: 2 new movies.

Prepare to be J.Lo’d.

Jennifer Lopez’s new album, This Is Me… Now, along with a musical film, This Is Me… Now: A Love Story, drops Friday, and — surprise! — a documentary, The Greatest Love Story Never Told, follows on Feb. 27. It’s long been her mantra to work harder than everyone else, but even for J.Lo, this is extra.

“When I was done with the music … I felt like there was a little bit more of the story to tell, and I felt like I wanted to do something special,” Lopez tells Yahoo Entertainment of the trifecta. “I felt like the music deserved that… I wanted to do something that had never been done before.” So she set about to “tell a different story.”

The story is one she invested $20 million of her own money into making. The album and musical film and doc examine Lopez’s romantic misadventures leading to her rekindled love with Ben Affleck.

Affleck, Jane Fonda and other stars appear in the Dave Meyers-directed Amazon original This Is Me… Now: A Love Story, an outside-the-box vision — is it a rom-com? sci-fi? fiction? — which resulted in a potential investor pulling out of it, saying they didn’t understand the concept. The Jason Bergh-directed doc, via Amazon MGM Studios, is about the making of the album and movie. It gets its title from love letters Affleck wrote to Lopez, which he titled “The Greatest Love Story Never Told.”

The Shotgun Wedding and Marry Me star said Affleck made her believe she could pull off the musical film, telling People, “I was like, ‘I don’t write, I don’t do this.’ He was like, ‘You do. You write, you direct, you produce, you choreograph. You do all the things. Start stepping into that, start owning a little bit of who you are.’”

After showing him the final cut last year, “He said, ‘You made a movie. For you. You made a great movie. You did it,’” she told Variety. “Honestly, I don’t care what happens now. That is the biggest kind of compliment that I could get.”

Does every pop star have a movie these days?

It seems like it. Lopez herself was the subject of a 2022 Netflix documentary, Halftime, that looked at her 2020 Super Bowl halftime show and success in Hustlers, which fueled a career renaissance for the multi-hyphenate.

She’s not alone. In January, Lil Nas X’s Long Live Montero doc premiered on Max, examining his debut concert tour in addition to his mental health struggles and sexuality.

Of course, last year, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé fueled the economy not just with their mega-tours but also with their concert films. Both superstars have used films to elevate their profiles. Swift previously was the subject of 2020 doc Miss Americana, put out concert films and directed a short original film to accompany “All Too Well” from 2021’s Red (Taylor’s Version). Beyoncé has made several films of her own, including visual albums, Black Is King and Lemonade, and the documentary Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé.

Rock docs, musical movies and concert films aren’t new. The Beatles were making films with their music in the mid-1960s. Bob Dylan was the subject of the Don’t Look Back doc in 1967, U2: Rattle and Hum was big in 1998 and Madonna’s Truth or Dare in 1991 was a game changer in the way artists told their own stories. Cher has had a variety of films, spanning decades.

In the last decade, it’s become a real staple for singers hoping to elevate their music or take back their narrative. We’ve seen docs, concert films or musical movies from Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Billie Eilish, Pink, Lady Gaga, Halsey, Kesha, Katy Perry, the Jonas Brothers, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, Coldplay and EGOT winner Elton John, among others.

Why is this the new thing?

Robert Fink, chair of UCLA’s music industry department and professor of musicology, explains to Yahoo Entertainment that the music industry has changed significantly over the last 20 years, amid the jump from CDs to streaming. Consumers aren’t buying albums the way they did — and when they stream music, it doesn’t pay the same way.

Back in the day, an artist may release a live album on CD or DVD to pad their bank accounts, but people aren’t buying those either. Music videos are no longer as important as they once were. Record labels’ promotion budgets for artists have also largely disappeared.

So where do the films come in? If an artist’s song — especially one they wrote themselves — is used in a film, on TV, in commercials or in other media, there’s a separate negotiation for synchronization rights. It’s determined by the popularity of the songs, not a fixed price, so it could potentially make an artist a lot more money when featured in a film.

“There’s a whole part of this that is a sort of capitalism,” Fink says. “There’s effectively a change in what different types of media are valued, and how you can maximize the income coming off of things that you own.”

While Lopez talked about fronting $20 million of her own money for her films, let’s not forget the fact that she sold two different films.

“The fact that she’s releasing the documentary [over] a week later, is effectively hoping that people will double dip on their streaming,” says Fink.

Plus, while record labels may not have a big promotion budget, studios still do — including for things like Tuesday’s splashy red carpet film premiere.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

Lopez with husband Ben Affleck at the premiere of This Is Me… Now: A Love Story. He appears in the musical film as well as in her new documentary. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

There’s also something to reclaiming a narrative, especially for some of these performers whose lives and loves have become online fodder. It also showcases their talent, especially if they feel they’re not getting their flowers. Often, pop stars — especially female ones — don’t.

“We live in a world where people’s assumption is that someone like J.Lo is a puppet of powerful producers in the studio,” says Fink. “When the record comes out, it’s like: Wow, she performed that. Maybe you think the lyrics may have something to do with her life. But you assume there’s some guy named Jack Antonoff or Scooter Braun or Max Martin” behind the scenes pulling the strings.

“If you’re a pop singer, as soon as you delegate parts of the creative process of making a song, people start to think that you’re a fake… It’s easy to attack female pop stars as inauthentic and try to tear them down because they don’t do it all themselves,” he explains.

A movie about a pop star can do something their album release alone can’t.

“There’s still a kind of aura around movies that, whether or not it’s true, that it’s ‘J.Lo’s movie,’” says Fink. “I don’t think anyone’s asking: ‘Well, who’s directing? Somebody I like?’ So you could argue that if you want to take back your narrative and take back your power, then putting out a movie [will make people] sort of assume that means that J.Lo is kind of like Martin Scorsese. She’s an auteur. This is her vision. That’s easier to do in movies because we can simultaneously hold in our minds: Well, there are literally thousands of people that work on a movie yet the director is still imagined to be the auteur. Whereas I think because of sexism and people looking down on pop music as opposed to other genres, it’s harder in music.”

Lopez has faced ‘all the -isms’

Lopez talked to Variety about Ayo Edebiri’s tearful apology to her before they shared the stage on Saturday Night Live Feb. 3 after an old interview with The Bear actress mocking the singer/dancer/actress’s talent surfaced. The Latina performer’s accomplishments have been minimized despite her decades-long career.

“I think that’s all the isms — the racism and the sexism,” says Fink. “I don’t think anybody is, like, pissing over Lady Gaga, Stefani Germanotta, who wants to be an actress one day and then be a singer the next day. But there’s this whole kind of thing where if J.Lo wants to do this, it’s easy to discount her as an actress. ‘She’s just a singer.’ And then discount her as a singer. ‘She’s an actress.’ She’s probably underrated in both.”

When it comes to these two films, “Because Jennifer Lopez is a good actress — she’s not Meryl Streep, but she’s a very skilled actress — there’s an expectation that she’s a big personality and kind of charismatic enough person that even the behind-the-scenes story is going to be pretty high entertainment value,” says Fink.

He adds, “It’s also possible that somebody was thinking, ‘Jeez, I don’t know if this fiction-fantasy crazy thing that she wants to do is going to actually work. I’m pretty sure people will want to watch the one where we get to know all about her secrets and Ben Affleck stuff.”

Lopez’s album This Is Me… Now and musical film This Is Me… Now: A Love Story are out now. The Greatest Love Story Never Told premieres on Feb. 27 on Prime Video.

Jerry David is a seasoned Senior Reporter specializing in consumer tech for BritishMags. He keeps a keen eye on the latest developments in the gadget arena, with a focus on major players like Apple, Samsung, Google, Amazon, and Sony, among others. Jerry David is often found testing and playing with the newest tech innovations. His portfolio includes informative how-to guides, product comparisons, and top picks. Before joining BritishMags, Jerry David served as the Senior Editor for Technology and E-Commerce at The Arena Group. He also held the role of Tech and Electronics Editor at CNN Underscored, where he launched the Gadgets vertical. Jerry David tech journey began as an Associate Tech Writer at Mashable, and he later founded NJTechReviews in 2010. A proud native of New Jersey, Jerry David earned his Bachelor of Arts in Media & Communication with honors, minoring in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Muhlenberg College. Outside of work, he enjoys listening to Bruce Springsteen, indulging in Marvel and Star Wars content, and spending time with his family dogs, Georgia and Charlie.