The Dreams' hometown—the setting for much of the action—was moved from Chicago to Detroit, the real-life hometown of The Supremes and Motown Records. had retained the film rights to Dreamgirls, and agreed to co-produce with Dream Works.However, after casting was completed, the film was budgeted at million and Warner backed out of the production.Struggling to restart her career in music, she hires Marty as her manager and begins performing at a local club.Meanwhile, with Deena Jones & the Dreams superstars and Rainbow having moved to Los Angeles and now the biggest pop business in the country, Curtis attempts to produce a film about Cleopatra starring an unwilling Deena, who is now his wife.
Curtis promptly drops him from the label and Lorrell ends their affair. C., who feels Curtis is undermining the artistic merit of his songs by making them into disco music, quits the label, only for everyone to then learn that Jimmy has been found dead from a heroin overdose. Just as the record begins gaining local radio play, Curtis uses payola to force radio stations to play The Dreams' disco cover of the song.By 1965, however, Effie begins acting out, particularly when Curtis' affections also turn towards Deena.Curtis eventually drops Effie from the group, hiring his secretary Jackie Morris to take her place beginning with their 1966 New Year's Eve debut in Las Vegas as "Deena Jones & the Dreams." Despite Effie's defiance and desperate appeal to Curtis, he, C.Jimmy's manager, Marty Madison, grows weary of Curtis' plans to make his client more pop-friendly and walks out.When Jimmy bombs in front of an all-white Miami Beach supper club audience, Curtis sends Jimmy out on the road alone, keeping The Dreamettes behind to headline in his place.The story follows the history and evolution of American R&B music during the 1960s and 1970s through the eyes of a Detroit, Michigan girl group known as the Dreams and their manipulative record executive.