Warner Bros.’ In the Heights sang off key in its box office opening with $11.4 million, well below expectations and putting the musical at No. 2 behind holdover A Quiet Place Part II in a surprise upset.
Heading into the weekend, Jon M. Chu’s big screen adaptation of the musical that put Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on the map, was widely expected to top the chart with anywhere from $15 million to $20 million.
Instead, Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II sequel shot back up to No. 1 in its third weekend with an estimated $11.7 million for a domestic total of nearly $109 million. The horror-thriller is the first film in the pandemic era to cross the $100 million mark domestically in a victory for exclusive theatrical releases.
Like all 2021 Warner Bros. titles, In the Heights is debuting simultaneously on HBO Max because of the challenges posed by the pandemic. It is impossible to know exactly how much business that is taking away in terms of box office grosses, but the feel-good pic may be more impacted than other genres since musicals often play to older adults, and especially older females. Consumers over 35 are the most reluctant to return to the multiplex, according to NRG surveys. At the same, musicals have a decidedly mixed track record at the office.
The hope now is that glowing reviews and strong exits lead to increased grosses. “We’re incredibly proud of this movie, and hope audiences find it over time,” says Warners president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein.
Per normal practice, HBO Max isn’t releasing viewership numbers for In the Heights.
Anthony Ramos and Corey Hawkins led the ensemble cast in this tale of a corner in Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights where different members of the close-knit Latinx community pursue their dreams. Leslie Grace, Melisa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV and Jimmy Smits also star in the critically acclaimed film, which received an A CinemaScore from audiences.
The film over-indexed on both Coasts, and particularly on the East Coast, where five of the top 10 theaters on Friday came from New York City alone. It also over-indexed among Latinos, who made up 40 percent of ticket buyers.
Sony’s family pic Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, the weekend’s other new offering, also came in behind expectations — although not as dramatically — with an estimated domestic debut of $10.4 million. The film received an A CinemaScore.
Overseas, where Peter Rabbit 2 had already opened in select markets, the family film took in another $10.7 million from 11 territories for a foreign tally of $57.9 million and $68.3 million globally.
The summer season is fully underway at the U.S. box office as the pandemic recovery continues, although grosses are still more tepid than in past years because of ongoing challenges facing the marketplace, including major theater closures in Canada, and hesitancy among some consumers. (There’s also cannibalization from streamers, such as HBO Max.)
“Another impressive performance for A Quiet Place Part II, a film that continues to enthrall audiences in its ‘theatrical first’ release and even in its third weekend, was able to grab the top spot despite the arrival of well-reviewed competition that also offered a streaming option for consumers,” says Comscore’s Paul Dergarabedian. “Is this enough?”
Warner Bros.’ The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It declined 58 percent in its second weekend to $10 million for a 10-day domestic total of $43.8 million. Globally, the horror threequel cleared the $100 million mark to finish Sunday with a foreign cume of $68 million and $111.8 million globally.
Disney’s Cruella — which is also available on Disney+ Premier Access for $30 — rounded out the top five with $6.7 million in its third weekend for a domestic total of $56 million and global haul of $129.3 million.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.