Spielberg's 'West Side Story" debuts weakly at $10.5M

NEW YORK, NY (AP) -- Despite two years of anticipation and critical acclaim, Steven Spielberg's extravagant "West Side Story" reboot did not make much noise at the box-office.

13 December 2021 Monday 12:14
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Spielberg's 'West Side Story" debuts weakly at $10.5M

According to studio estimates Sunday, $10.5 million was sold for the debut. This is a worrying result for a movie industry that struggles to find its footing.

The stunning widescreen adaptation of Spielberg's musical "West Side Story", was one the most anticipated titles of the year. The $100 million "West Side Story", a film by Tony Kushner, and Rita Moreno, is a landmark prestige film that Hollywood rarely produces. It was met with glowing reviews and expectation that it would be a star at March's Academy Awards.

"West Side Story" was faced with a difficult market for musicals and adult-driven releases. In the second year after the pandemic, multiplexes have seen steady increases in attendance, but older moviegoers who accounted for the majority of ticket-buyers have been the most resistant to returning to multiplexes.

Musicals have also struggled to gain popularity in theaters. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s "In the Heights” launched in June with $11 million. However, the Warner Bros. release was simultaneously streamed by HBO Max. This was Spielberg. He was the one who could revive moviegoing. One of the most renowned movie directors, a director associated with box office, could surely spark a greater revival in theaters. The musical "West Side Story" is also a favorite. Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins directed the 1961 film. It grossed $43.7 million, or about $400 million adjusted to inflation, and won 10 Oscars including best picture.

"West Side Story" is expected to continue to be a hit through the lucrative holiday season. Younger-skewing films such as "Spider-Man: No Way Home", which will open next weekend with $100 million domestically, and "Sing 2," are likely to be the biggest draws. The film industry executives hope that the COVID-19 spreading omicron version doesn't cause Hollywood to lose its most lucrative period.

The industry will be concerned by the "West Side Story's" muted reception. Spielberg's song-and-dance performance was long awaited to restore some of the movie's magic. However, there is little to no appeal outside of Marvel films. Many moviegoers haven't yet returned.

Paul Dergarabedian is a senior media analyst at data firm Comscore. He stated that "to draw moviegoers in large numbers to adult dramas right now seems like quite a heavy lift." While this trend will fade over time, it is still a concern for studios and filmmakers.

Dergarabedian added, "But I don’t think that this is the last act for 'West Side Story.'" "Many people considered 'The Greatest Showman'.

The 2017 release opened with an $8.8 million opening weekend, before it enjoyed a rare and long run that saw it earn $435 million worldwide. It was one of the most successful live-action musicals. Movies have often moved to streaming or home releases faster than they did at the multiplex during the pandemic.

The film, which stars Rachel Zegler as Maria and Tony and Ansel Elgort playing Tony, grossed $4.4 million in 37 territories. It was banned in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain Oman, Oman, Kuwait, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman because it features a transgender character.

David A. Gross, the head of the movie consulting Franchise Entertainment, described the opening as "soft."

Gross stated in an email that "West Side Story" must connect internationally if it is to become financially viable. "The first European openings have been positive so far. But this will be difficult with the moviegoing environment as challenging as they are."

The release of Spielberg's film was long overdue. The pandemic delayed its release for a year. It was created at 20th Century Fox. The Walt Disney Co. acquired it shortly before production started. Stephen Sondheim, the musical's revered lyricsist, died just days before the Lincoln Center premiere.

The animated Disney film "Encanto" came in second place. It dropped only 27% over the weekend. It earned $9.6 between Friday and Sunday, making it a total of $71.3 million domestically as well as $80.5 million internationally.

The weekend's other wide-release, STX Films' college drama "National Champions", was largely overlooked. It earned $300,000.000 in 1,197 theaters.

According to Comscore, Friday through Sunday ticket sales were estimated at U.S. theaters and Canadian theatres. Monday will see the release of final domestic figures.

1. "West Side Story", $10.5 Million

2. "Encanto," $9.4 million.

3. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," $7.1 million.

4. "House of Gucci", $4.1 Million

5. "Eternals," $3.1 million.

6. "Resident Evil": Welcome to Raccoon city," $1.7 Million

7. "Clifford the Big Red Dog", $1.3 Million

8. "Christmas With The Chosen," $1.3 Million

9. "Dune," $857,000.

10. "Venom: Let There be Carnage", $850,000

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