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‘West Side Story’ Grabs Top Spot in Debut Weekend

West Side Story - 2021 cast

Steven Spielberg’s version of the classic “West Side Story” took top place at the U.S. Box Office on its opening weekend, but with only $10.5 million.

It fared even worse overseas, where it scraped up just $4.4 million in 37 foreign markets, bringing its first-week global total to $14.9 million.

Analysts say part of the decline in ticket sales this weekend is a lot of older people are still avoiding theaters due to COVID and its mutations. I’ve also seen social media comments that some of the target female audience is avoiding the film due to the sexual assault allegations against actor Ansel Elgort, who is one of the film’s leads.

While a lot of sources are writing the film off as a failure, it still stands a chance to earn back more of the $100 million 20th Century Studios, and its parent company Disney, spent on the film.

This is a prestige musical, and one that is getting glowing reviews from critics, even garnering an AFI Award for one of the Top Ten films of 2021.

It stands to get several more award nominations in the next few months, culminating with Oscar noms in February. This always piques interest in films, and most studios re-release films to theaters right before the Oscars.

Finally, I expect the film will do very well with home video and digital release.

Next week “West Side Story” will lose IMAX and other specialty theaters to the release of Sony/Disney-Marvel’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which is already poised to be one of the top releases of 2021.

This will bring down the amount of theaters for the film, but 20th Century Studios says the film will still stay in theaters through the holidays.

Also worth noting this week is that Disney-related films nabbed three of the top five spots on the U.S. Box Office, according to Box Office Mojo.

Encanto - Madrigal family

In its third week, “Encanto” slid to number two on the chart, but with a very respectable $9,425,000 for the weekend. That’s only a little more than $1 million less than “West End Story.” It’s three week domestic total is $71.3 million, and adding in an $80.5 million worldwide, brings its total box office to $151.8 million.

“Encanto” will be debuting on Disney+ Christmas Eve (Dec. 24, 2021).

And Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” is holding on to #5 on the chart with a weekend total of $3.1 million, bringing its six week total to $161,217,043. Adding in another $234.1 million from foreign markets, brings its current worldwide gross to $395.3 million.

“Eternals” will debut on Disney+ on January 12, 2022.

Did you see “West End Story” this weekend? Let me know what you thought of it.