Stephen Spielberg’s remake of ‘The West Side Story’ bombed at the box office though it managed to impress the critics. Let’s find why things didn’t work on the masses front.
Five weeks passed in cinemas, and the popular musical’s adaption couldn’t gain much in global ticket sales. Excluding the marketing cost, the production budget of $100 million has become hard to recover. When it comes to Spielberg, it’s essential to study the reasons for the failure.
- No lust for musicals
- Pandemic kept the older audience away from theatres
- ‘The West Side Story’ infuriated the Latinos
No lust for musicals
According to the movie experts, the western audience is done with the musicals. For them, ‘West Side Story’ was simply too sweet for today’s audiences.
However, we can’t wholly say that West is tone-deaf to good musicals. They do love song and dance numbers, at least the data before the pandemic speaks of it. ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ made a thunderous collection of $350 million globally. How can one forget ‘La La Land’, which collected $448 million? Some movies like ‘The Greatest Showman’ didn’t start well with $8.8 million but turned their fortunes in the coming weeks, ultimately making $436 million worldwide.
Pandemic kept the older audience away from theatres
If not for young people, ‘The West Side Story’ is a subject of interest for older audiences. After all, it’s about mid-20th century musical theatre. Yes, the old audience in America didn’t want to miss the 60-year-old cinematic bliss directed by Spielberg, who is undoubtedly a cinematic god. But what went wrong?
But older people just aren’t going to the movies these days, for all too obvious reasons. Experts put forth the sense that the rising Covid cases due to Omicron are keeping them away from theatres.
‘The West Side Story’ infuriated the Latinos.
The film could only attract audiences from New York and L.A. However, it didn’t make an impact in middle America, especially the Latino community. The original ‘West Side Story’ also landed into controversy when the white actress Natalie Wood was cast as the Puerto Rican heroine Maria. The makers forced Rita Moreno, the real Puerto Rican actress, to wear even more brown makeup to look Puerto Rican was a cringe-worthy decision.
Though Spielberg tried not repeating the historical blunder, this time he cast only Puerto Rican actors for the roles of Sharks. He made a promise at the town hall in Puerto Rico that he’d show the island in such a way that would make everyone proud. But again, Puerto Ricans were stereotyped as hot-headed gang bangers. The script is wholly flawed and offensive.
What do you think could be the most significant reason that drove the audience away from theatres? Share your views on ‘The West Side Story’ in the comments box below.