*It’s hard for a film to reach box office expectations when it’s simultaneously released on a streaming app.
“In the Heights,” the acclaimed Warner Bros. adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical, hit a sour note in theaters with an underwhelming $11.4 million from 3,456 U.S. theaters in its first four days of release. According to Variety, that’s below earlier expectations suggesting the feel-good film would reach $20 million.
“In the Heights” also opened on HBO Max, the streaming service owned by the studio’s parent company WarnerMedia, though the company didn’t report its digital viewership.
Watch the first eight minutes of “In the Heights” below:
In the surprise box office defeat, Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” returned to the No. 1 spot in its third week in theaters only, with $11.65 million from 3,800 screens. To date, the sequel has amassed $108.9 million, making it the first blockbuster since the onset of COVID-19 to cross the $100 million mark in the U.S. At the international box office, “A Quiet Place” had collected $75 million, bringing its global bounty to a strong $183 million.
The disappointing commercial reception for “In the Heights” is puzzling because critics embraced the joyous film, showering it with some of the best reviews of the pandemic era. Moreover, Warner Bros. put substantial marketing heft behind the picture, and director Jon M. Chu and Miranda devoted a great deal of energy into promoting the movie, which compensated for the fact that its cast was comprised of mostly unknown stars and emerging actors.
Though it’s impossible to know the full impact, the film’s hybrid release on HBO Max likely affected its box office business. However, that’s not the sole reason that inaugural ticket sales for “In the Heights” were underwhelming. Recent Warner Bros. releases like “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Mortal Kombat” and “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” still pulled in solid receipts despite being offered simultaneously on streaming.