HBO Max isn't to blame after IntheHeights fizzles at the box office
Since “In the Heights,” a lauded adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical, fell short of box office expectations, it would be easy to point to its hybrid debut on HBO M…
that hailed from popular franchises.Warner Bros. vaguely reaffirmed the notion that streaming isn’t cannibalizing box office ticket sales, with the studio’s president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldsteintelling the Associated Presson Sunday morning that HBO Max wasn’t entirely at fault for the film’s less-than-stellar turnout in theaters.
“Our experience, which is backed up on ‘In the Heights,’ is that if the movie hits a high level in theaters, it hits a high level on the service,” Goldstein told the outlet. “If it hits a low level in theaters, it hits a low level on HBO Max. They’re really very comparable.”
That suggests that “In the Heights” failed to draw a big audience on HBO Max in addition to striking out with ticket buyers. And that’s a problem. “In the Heights” carries a $55 million production budget, which means it needs to gross roughly $110 million at the global box office to cover that cost. But that doesn’t include the tens of millions of dollars more that Warner Bros. spent marketing the film. Plus, the $55 million figure doesn’t factor in the millions of backend that Warner Bros. paid Miranda and director Jon M. Chu to keep them happy after the studio decided to put the movie on Max. That probably means that “In the Heights” needs to gross in the $200 million range in order to be a financial success. headtopics.com
To be fair, streaming complicates that math, because the film’s value is not just dependent on its box office figures. Warner Bros.’ parent company WarnerMedia is also looking to add HBO Max subscribers, but it’s unclear if “In the Heights” sparked new signups.
Despitestellar reviewsand strong audience scores, “In the Heights” proved difficult to market for several reasons — though it was certainly not for lack of trying. If you’ve turned on cable in the past few weeks, chances are you’ve been treated to a trailer for “In the Heights.” The studio embarked on a massive campaign to promote the film through costly TV spots, influencer screenings and social media hits featuring Ariana Grande, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Jackman and more. Ahead of its theatrical release, Warner Bros. screened the movie at the Tribeca Festival in New York and the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, earning a great deal of media coverage in the process.
“There was enthusiasm and hope that a movie like this would create huge interest in movie theaters because it benefits from the communal experience,” says Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore. However, he adds that “musicals are a fairly mixed bag in terms of box office results. It’s not like horror movies, which have a very consistent track record.”
“In the Heights,” which centers on a lively neighborhood in upper Manhattan, was a hit when it opened on Broadway in 2008, winning several Tony Awards. But the show doesn’t have the same pop culture resonance as “Wicked,” “Hamilton” or other musical theater breakouts. Adding to challenges, the cast was comprised of largely unknown stars or emerging talent, including “Hamilton” breakout Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins and Olga Merediz. Instead of touting an A-list actor, the studio centered its promotional efforts on Miranda and Chu, marketing “In the Heights” as a new movie from the director of the commercial hit “Crazy Rich Asians” and the creative mind behind “Hamilton.” headtopics.com
“One of the only positive takeaways at the moment is that the people who are seeing it are loving it,” Robbins says. “We’re not seeing a divide between critics and moviegoers. This is the trouble with an art form and business colliding.”It’s also necessary to mention that movie theaters are still rebounding from COVID-19. There’s hesitation among consumers, even those who are vaccinated, and on top of that, many U.S. cinemas have restricted capacity for social distancing. In the case of “In the Heights,” its 2.5 hour runtime also likely limited the number of showtimes per day.
Though Warner Bros. delayed the film’s release date by a year due to the pandemic, “In the Heights” was always intended as a summer blockbuster to align with the film’s setting. The goal was to have moviegoers leave the theater craving a piragua, the Puerto Rican syrupy shave-ice treat that has a fun presence in the movie. Yet its timing, in the heat of summer, may not have worked in the film’s favor. Musicals may have an unreliable track record at the box office, but many successful song-and-dance properties as of late, like “La La Land” ($448 million globally), “The Greatest Showman” ($438 million globally) and “Bohemian Rhapsody” ($913 million globally), opened in the fall and winter, giving it time to build an audience around the holidays. Summer musicals such as “Mamma Mia,” featuring the music of the famed Swedish pop group ABBA, and “Hairspray,” which boasted a cast of well known actors, are the exceptions.
“Warner Bros. promoted the movie very heavily, to their credit,” says Robbins. “They promoted it as an event movie despite its hybrid release. But, really, this wasn’t like ‘The Greatest Showman’ in that [“In the Heights”] didn’t have a major star to attract audiences.”
In the case of “The Greatest Showman,” the Hugh Jackman-led musical was essentially written off after its tepid $8.8 million debut. Yet it beat the odds to become an unlikely box office sensation, with sing-along screenings and repeat viewings propelling its ticket sales to $174 million domestically and $438 million globally. At this rate, “In the Heights” won’t reach that level of box office glory, but industry analysts are optimistic that the film can stick around in theaters without much direct competition over the summer. headtopics.com
“We’re extremely proud of the movie and hopefully audiences will find it over time,” Goldstein of Warner Bros. toldVariety.A lot has been hinging on the commercial results for “In the Heights” because it’s the rare studio movie to feature an almost entirely Latino cast. On Thursday, Chu
took to social mediato encourage fans to watch the movie in theaters. “Box Office matters. Show up. [..] Each ticket is a vote for more movies that showcase the incredible Latina/Latino talent &stories that are still out there. Make it a fact,” he wrote on Twitter. In “In the Heights,” the community’s beloved matriarch Abuela Claudia preaches the importance of “paciencia y fe” — patience and faith.
That may also be its best box office strategy. Read more: Variety »
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After reading about the lack of Afro Latino representation, I, like most people, will give this movie a hard pass. I honestly haven’t given movie theaters a moment’s thought since the pandemic began. I didn’t even realize InTheHeights (or anything else) was being shown in theaters. I—like a lot of other people—watched it streaming.
I have LOVED watching the movies at home. The theatre is a by gone era for me and my family. Give us the option to have the comfort of home!! this sucks so much. i got my hopes up that the movie would be a success with all the money warner brothers put behind it and all the amazing reviews (and i still do not really understand what happened). i hope this does not affect the decision to produce future movie musicals.
It’s such a shame as it’s one of the best movies of the year! its a musical w no movie stars in it. why did we expect it to be some huge smash? not everyone loves theater and musicals. It seems Hollywood is trying thier hardest to make this an excuse for the horrible non representation of Latinosinmovies
Here come the excuses... Seriously, how many times a day are you going to post this in some way or another? It’s bordering on creepy. Is there no other entertainment news you can post about? WB: logic “Quality”(beauty/ light skinned) over “Quantity”(ugly/ dark skinned)...... but it might do better over seas
And also the film had strong competition and should have been delayed
Box Office Upset: ‘In the Heights’ Loses to ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ With Tepid $11.4M Bow'In the Heights' sang off key in its box office opening with $11.4 million, putting it at No. 2 behind 'A Quiet Place Part II.' 💜💜💜💜💜
HBO Max isn’t the reason it failed it’s because people don’t give a fuck about Musicals that are filled with woke bullshit rebeccaarubin Disappoints?! Why would I watch a film where the director of a Latinos film ain’t Latino? It’s ridiculous. It was fun and enjoyable. Lets remember it never was anything but a mediocre stage musical.
Mainstream audiences like cliched violent action. If it isn’t crime oriented or shallow comedy, don’t expect them to buy tickets for this. Something else could also be at play and that's the lack of afro-Latino representation. After all, more than vanilla Latinos live in Washington Heights and colorism is a major issues within the Latino community.
Blame the movie. It sucked..... 🤔🤔🤔🤔
Box Office: ‘In the Heights’ Disappoints With $11 Million Opening Weekend“In the Heights,” the acclaimed adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway show, didn’t hit all the right notes in its box office debut. The Warner Bros. movie generated a … *shrugs* Nobody that lives in the heights are dancing like it's Mr Rogers neighborhood 😂😂 bruceburdock
Box Office: ‘In the Heights’ Dancing to Subdued $13 Million DebutWarner Bros. movie musical “In the Heights” is poised to top the domestic box office this weekend, though its 3-day estimate now sits lower than previous predictions. Earlier in the wee… Now let’s add in hbomax views. I’ve already watched twice!! Maybe because most people are watching it on HBO Max. Where they can watch with their families. Most people aren’t going into theaters yet. How much are y'all getting paid to push this? (Looking at the number of posts, a lot!). Advertisements are supposed to be labeled...
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