clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

‘West Side Story’: Critics love it. Moviegoers? Not so much

A $10 million gross was much below target for ‘West Side Story’ remake

Ilda Mason as Luz, Ariana DeBose as Anita, and Ana Isabelle as Rosalia in “West Side Story.”
Ilda Mason, left, as Luz, Ariana DeBose as Anita, and Ana Isabelle as Rosalia in “West Side Story.”
Niko Tavernise, 20th Century Studios via Associated Press

Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake swept critics off their feet but their reviews couldn’t convince moviegoers to go.

On the movie’s opening weekend, the Disney and 20th Century Studio’s ambitious remake made just $10.5 million in its domestic debut, a small number for the scale and scope of the movie, even by pandemic standards, missing the prerelease hope of $25 million by 40%, according to The New York Times.

According to Variety, the movie carried a $100 million budget and faces a profitability battle. The movie needs to generate $300 million globally to break even.

Despite the low numbers, moviegoers who did see the movie appear to like it. Ticket buyers gave the film an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls. The audience sentiment “all bode well for the long run ahead through the upcoming holiday season,” Disney said, according to The New York Times.

The movie has a 93% critics score and a 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Disney has high hopes for the rest of the holiday season for the movie since musicals often get a slow start, but word of mouth and awards can gather a lot of attention. “West Side Story” has already received a Golden Globes nomination for best motion picture for musical or comedy category, according to CNN.

These numbers pose a bigger question: Does Hollywood have room for movies that aren’t a part of an ongoing franchise or don’t have insane visual effects?