In the Heights, the highly anticipated Warner Bros. musical, opened in second place in North American theaters this weekend, coming in behind the returning thriller A Quiet Place Part II.
With the pandemic receding and 76% of theaters now open, Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place took in $12 million in its third weekend, researcher Comscore said Monday. In the Heights, with music from Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, brought in $11.5 million, about half what analysts anticipated. The movie was also available at no extra cost to subscribers of HBO Max, which is owned by AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia.
The result was a disappointment for the studio and theaters, which thought a feel-good musical would draw people back to cinemas. In a survey by online ticket seller Fandango, only 4% of people planning to see In the Heights said they had visited the theater since the start of the pandemic, suggesting some film lovers were waiting for the right movie to return.
“It’s a complicated situation to unpack, but I think this boils down to the simple fact that real world buzz didn’t match industry and social media hype,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice Pro. “This turned out to be a very niche film.”
In the Heights is about life in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. It’s based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.
The only other major new film over the weekend, Sony Pictures’ Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway narrowly missed the No. 3 spot at the box office, making $10.1 million. It lost out to The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, also from Warner Bros., which brought in $10.3 million in its second week, as customers were drawn to older, darker fare, rather than new family friendly movies.
“Musicals often take time to find an audience, and there are many examples of films from the genre that wound up surprising early naysayers by building momentum,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst at Comscore. “Time will tell if this will be the case for ‘In The Heights,’ but it’s also too early to categorize the film as an abject failure.”
The cumulative gross for A Quiet Place Part II reached $109 million, Comscore said. Variety reported that the film became the first since theatres reopened to reach the $100 million mark.