Last summer we were treated to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton on Disney+, amidst theater closures over the (usually) fiery box office season. And this year, Miranda’s first musical, In The Heights, has a dazzling adaptation from Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu and is now on the big screen and HBO Max at the same time. S how will it do in ticket earnings?
Although the convenient option is certainly there for HBO Max subscribers per Warner Bros 2021 movie model, box office earnings still play a major role in the measured success of a film. In The Heights tells the story of a predominantly Latinx community in Washington Heights, New York, in an industry where this community is underrepresented. Ahead of the film’s opening earnings, there are some projections in place for In The Heights.
The critically-acclaimed movie is expected to debut at No. 1 against the opening of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway at an estimated $24 million debut gross. The numbers were calculated by Box Office Pro ahead of the film’s first showings on Thursday and Friday. Now, that the weekend is starting to roll along, In The Heights could actually be performing under expectations at a number closer to $15 million.
In The Heights’ first screenings started Thursday evening and continued on to Friday, racking up a reported $5 million ahead of Saturday and Sunday, per Forbes. Although it seems like In The Heights will remain modest amidst recent box office darlings like A Quiet Place Part 2’s deafening $57 million opening weekend, we should keep in mind that in the past, musicals have opened low and developed long box office legs across a matter of weeks and months.
For example, 2017’s The Greatest Showman had an unimpressive opening weekend, starting its time in theaters at No. 4 with $8 million but rode a long wave as its songs and word of mouth caught on. It ended its run with a $434 million worldwide gross, becoming one of the highest grossing musicals of all time.
It will be a test of COVID-era box office economics to see if In The Heights can follow in the Hugh Jackman film's footsteps while also being available to view at home on HBO Max. Though it should be noted that the streaming service has not stopped other Warner Bros movies from doing well at the box office. Godzilla vs. Kong has become one of the most successful movies of 2021 so far, with a $441 million worldwide gross, surpassing its predecessor’s earnings from 2019.
Additionally, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and Tom & Jerry have managed to stick solid numbers while streaming on HBO Max. For the time being, it looks like In The Heights won’t have the most impressive first weekend of the summer season, but we’ll keep watch at how it progresses this weekend and beyond. The Lin-Manuel Miranda musical could still surprise us this season.