Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” Didn’t Do So Well At The Box Office And People Are Blaming Ansel Elgort

December 12, 2021 / Posted by:

No film franchise is safe from Hollywood’s obsession with remakes and reboots, not even top-tier musicals like West Side Story. After long delays and early reviews calling it a “TRIUMPH” and “PHENOMENAL,”  Steven Spielberg’s take on WSS hit theaters on Friday… and it tanked, earning only around $10 million so far. For comparative purposes, its production budget was $100 million. Yikes. Spielberg and co. may have to let the Jets and Sharks loose on the streets to bully moviegoers into seeing the new WSS! Can you imagine being threatened by jazz hands when you’re just trying to buy tickets to see Encanto?

The film was announced way back in the halcyon days of 2018 (that’s right, there was a time before 2020) and news trickled in of its cast including perfect innocent angel Ansel Elgort as Tony, newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria, Ariana DeBose as Anita, David Alvarez as Bernardo, and the one and only Rita Moreno in a brand-new role made just for her. Even with all the buzz, the film appears as dead as Tony at the end of WSS. According to Variety:

“West Side Story,” Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical, fell flat in its box office debut, collecting a paltry $10.5 million from 2,820 theaters. That’s cause for concern because Disney and 20th Century Studios spent $100 million to revive the Shakespearean love story for modern times and stand to lose millions, unless “West Side Story” endures at the box office through the holidays and Oscar season.

Though every new movie musical has struggled to entice audiences in COVID times, it’s worrisome for both theater operators and traditional studios that “West Side Story” — one of the most beloved stories in musical theater history and under the direction of Hollywood’s most commercially successful filmmaker — sold fewer tickets than “In the Heights” ($11.5 million debut), a lesser known song-and-dance property that premiered simultaneously on HBO Max. “West Side Story” at least earned more than Universal’s recent “Dear Evan Hansen” adaptation, which premiered to $7.4 million, but that’s not exactly a high bar considering “Dear Evan Hansen” was skewered by critics. And, “In the Heights” and “Dear Evan Hansen” cost far less to make than “West Side Story.”

Not even the presence of Rita Moreno was enough to save WSS from earning slightly more than Dear Evan Hansen, a movie wrongly critiqued for its excellent casting choices (time will prove me right on this!). Now it might be COVID or it could be that no one likes musicals anymore, but a few people are pointing the finger directly at Ansel Elgort’s vacant face. The allegations of Ansel’s predatory behavior have resurfaced and some are saying that his involvement directly impacted the film’s performance. TMZ reports:

Long story short … the guy was accused of sexually assaulting a woman — who told her story on Twitter, and then deleted it — who claims she was 17 when she had sex with him in 2014. She alleges she felt violated afterward, and went on to say she suffers from PTSD. Ansel denied her characterization in a since-deleted message — insisting it was consensual.

Other women have come forward with claims against him as well, alleging he was predatory and soliciting minors before he was uber famous — but he hasn’t addressed those specifically. In any case, him being tapped as the lead for Spielberg was widely criticized.

Spielberg had already wrapped filming by the time the allegations came out, so there was very little the production company could do. Well, they could’ve green-screened Ansel out and digitally added someone less offensive, more beloved, and with the singing voice of an angel…

Oh, Substituteney, this could’ve been your time to shine!

Pic: YouTube

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