Speed Reads

summer box office

In the Heights has a surprisingly disappointing debut at the box office

Despite rapturous reviews, In the Heights, the new film based on Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway musical, isn't quite soaring to new heights at the box office. 

In the Heights took in $11.4 million at the domestic box office this weekend, a surprisingly low four-day total after prognosticators expected it to gross closer to $20 million, Variety reports. In fact, the musical came in behind A Quiet Place Part II, which made $11.65 million and climbed back to number one at the box office after originally opening over Memorial Day weekend. 

It was an unexpectedly disappointing start for a major musical from the creator of Hamilton that was almost universally praised by critics. Unlike A Quiet Place, though, In the Heights is also available to stream through HBO Max, so it could be that more moviegoers than expected simply opted to watch the film at home rather than venturing back out to theaters amid the pandemic. 

Still, Variety writes that the film's streaming release is likely not the only reason it underperformed. After all, Godzilla vs. KongMortal Kombat, and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It previously had stronger openings at the box office even though they were also available on HBO Max. Analysts pointed to a number of other reasons In the Heights may have fallen short in its opening, including its lack of big stars and the fact that the original Broadway show isn't as widely known as Hamilton. Given how well it's been received, though, it's still possible the film could generate more box office momentum in the next few weeks. 

"Ultimately, this is not the first musical to be hyped by the industry and fall a little short of expectations," box office analyst Shawn Robbins told CNN. "Maybe the timing wasn't quite right, or it simply wasn't fair to expect such big things, even pre-pandemic, from a relatively original title with mostly unknown actors."