The film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda IN THE HEIGHTS reached its first weekend with some of the best reviews of the year (95% fresh in rotten tomatoes) and what seemed like a huge fanbase that was ready to embrace the film as the music event of the summer. Sadly, once the numbers came in, In the heights hugely deficient with an opening of $ 11.5 million, well below its box office tracking. The movie was also released simultaneously on HBO Max and those numbers were unsatisfactory too, but HBO Max boss Andy Forssell is defending the box office performance and its dual-stream release.
Forssell spoke with The envelope after AT & T’s second quarter earnings call and not only defended the film’s lackluster box office total (currently $ 29 million with a budget of $ 55 million) but also its release on HBO Max. Here’s what he had to say about his box office total:
“It is very difficult to measure how much COVID had to do with this, especially with the COVID situation that changes week after week, the willingness of people to go to the movies. I just know that ‘In the Heights’ did very well on HBO Max. It kind of made a lower end of the range for our expectations at the box office. “
Forssell went on to discuss the assumption that the release of HBO Max lowered the film’s box office performance. On this subject, Forssell does not support that claim, but he definitely does not say that this could be the reason the film suffered at the box office:
“We all tend to want to draw these conclusions, but I think it’s very different title by title, and it’s really hard to be sure that you can draw a conclusion.”
There are a few things to unpack here, starting with your HBO Max performance. After the movie’s opening weekend, Samba TV reported that In the heights had a very quiet streaming debut. Of course, Samba TV is a third party and doesn’t show the full picture, but WarnerMedia didn’t come out saying how well the movie did on the platform when the narrative seemed to indicate that it didn’t. This is why some believe that these platforms should be more transparent with their numbers. In the heights It could have picked up momentum at home, but until Forsell claims they did very well, there would be no way of knowing. It is true that everything is different title by title. Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombatand, just last week, Space Jam: a new legacy it performed well in theaters and streaming. It really depends on what people are willing to do or why they stay at home.
Next, there is the COVID issue regarding the box office. It is true that the COVID situation is changing from week to week and everyone does not feel comfortable going back to the movies, but there have been a lot of movies that were released higher than In the heights during the pandemic. Even when movie theaters were mostly closed, the studio itself Tom jerry film opened at $ 14.1 million. Using COVID as an excuse seems a bit like an excuse when the real reason is likely that the movie didn’t expand enough beyond the musical’s loyal fan base.
What are YOUR thoughts on HBO Max and your response to the performance of In the heights?