Steven Spielberg’s take on the 1957 stage musical and remake of the 1961 movie adaptation of the same name falls flat on its debut weekend despite receiving glowing reviews from critics.
AceShowbiz -“West Side Story” failed to tap into the hearts of young moviegoers. Coming from renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg, the new take on the 1957 stage musical has become a huge flop at the North American box office with just an estimated $10.5 million opening.
It is only ten percent of what Disney and 20th Century Studios reportedly spent in the making of the Shakespearean love story revival for modern times. With a reported $100 million budget, the studios stand to lose millions unless the Ansel Elgort-starring musical endures at the box office through the holidays and Oscar season.
Receiving glowing reviews from critics with an average rating of 8.30/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie earned only $3 million more than “Dear Evan Hansen” ($7.4 million), which was skewered by critics, and $1 million less than what “In the Heights” ($11.5 million) made. The poor performance of “West Side Story” could have resulted from the reluctance of old moviegoers, who made up the bulk of ticket-buyers for Spielberg’s latest, to return to theaters amid concerns over coronavirus variants.
“To draw moviegoers to adult dramas in huge numbers right now seems like a pretty heavy lift,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore. “That will wane over time, but it is concerning for filmmakers and studios.” He added though, “But I don’t think this is the final act for ‘West Side Story’. A lot of people counted out ‘The Greatest Showman‘,” which stumbled with a $8.8 million start but ended up raking in $171 million domestically.
Despite the disappointing opening number, “West Side Story” still leads the domestic chart on a sluggish weekend. Two-time champion “Encanto” is pushed to No. 2 with an estimated $9.4 million, while “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” follows at No. 3 with approximately $7.1 million.
“House of Gucci” also drops one place to No. 4 with approximately $4.1 million. Meanwhile, “Eternals” holds on to the fifth position with additional $3.1 million, bringing its total domestic haul to $161 million.
Top 10 of North America Box Office (Dec. 10-12, 2021):
- “West Side Story” – $10.5 million
- “Encanto” – $9.4 million
- “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” – $7.1 million
- “House of Gucci” – $4.1 million
- “Eternals” – $3.1 million
- “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” – $1.6 million
- “Clifford the Big Red Dog” – $1.32 million
- “Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers” – $1.3 million
- “Dune” – $857,000 million
- “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” – $850,000
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