‘West Side Story’ Disappoints At The Box Office


West Side Story debuted this past weekend at the box office and it did not perform very well, even with Steven Spielberg and Disney behind it. The remake of the 1961 musical was met with critical praise and crickets for an audience.

The film brought in $10.5 million which is the lowest  #1 opening weekend since Spiral: From the Book of Saw took in $8.75 million in May and that one was on HBO Max and theaters simultaneously.

Globally the film is coming it at around $14.9 million.

Of course people are rushing to blame the pandemic, but it didn’t stop other films from doing fairly well including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Ghostbusters Afterlife and then there are the Spider-man: No Way Home pre-sales. All of these happened during the pandemic as well.  Spider-Man is coming out this week, so it is not looking good for West Side Story right now.

There were several other factors that could have impacted the performance of this film as well:

1. It is a musical and those don’t always do that well in the box office.

2. It was a remake of an old film that people either already saw or didn’t care about.

3. The Spanish sections of the film are not subtitled and require one to speak Spanish to understand them. The argument from Spielberg being that he didn’t want to prioritize English over Spanish. Then they could have subtitled all of it.

4. It only opened in about 2,800 theaters, which is about 2/3 as many as other films have opened in recently. That would lower the box office totals overall.

It is also worth mentioning that other recent musicals have started slow and then gained momentum in the theater later. However, they weren’t facing down Spider-man: No Way Home a few days later.

I remember when I heard about this film, before the pandemic, I knew it would not perform well in the box office. Overtime I think it might gain momentum and it might do well on Disney+, but it wasn’t one I would have sent to the box office, especially now.

Sources: Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo

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