In The Heights, Jon M. Chu’s feature film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, failed to take the top spot at the box office this past weekend. According to LA Times, analyst projections for the film pointed to $20 million, but it only brought in a low $11.4 million.
The result is unexpected for the musical, which premiered simultaneously in theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max. It earned an A rating on CineScore, a 95% audience rating and 97% “fresh” critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian spoke to LA Times to explain this disappointing opening.
“We’re still in the middle of a learning process when it comes to the theatrical performance of films that have a hybrid release strategy,” he tells the news site. “Musicals have a fairly mixed track record at the box office. Despite the high hopes and general enthusiasm for the film, this debut should not be the only metric for success.”
A past example of another musical release may point to why In The Heights experienced such a letdown. The opening weekend for The Greatest Showman grossed just $8.8 million, below In The Heights. However, even without the competition of a simultaneous streaming release (and not to mention a pandemic that still hinders many people from going to theaters), the Hugh Jackman-starring film went on to make $438 million worldwide.
There may be no reason to fret for In The Height’s summer box office season. Dergarabedian also says that “the film has received strong reviews and positive reaction from audiences, so at least In the Heights delivers the goods and makes for happy subscribers and [moviegoers].”
So go check out the feature film on HBO Max or in theaters now!