When Woke Side Story bombed badly on its opening weekend, media defenders insisted that it would thrive over the holiday weekend. Nope. Now they’re claiming that it’s because older adults haven’t come back to theaters. And while they haven’t, more reasonably budgeted titles aimed at older adults have done okay. But there apparently wasn’t much of a market for a woke reworking of a classic musical.
Especially not in Middle America.
In its first three weeks in cinemas, the adaption of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical has captured just $36.6 million in global ticket sales. Its production budget was around $100 million, not including marketing costs.
And these days marketing costs are massive.
“Sounds like a write-off to me,” said Eric Handler, media and entertainment analyst at MKM Partners. “The markets that have done the best have been New York and L.A. The film wasn’t able to grab middle America, and it didn’t seem to have that great of a penetration into the Latino community.”
Despite Tony Kushner and Spielberg shoving in Puerto Rican nationalism, it wasn’t radical enough for the wokes but did manage to alienate ordinary American audiences. This was an overpriced NYC/LA movie that, like so many woke productions, wasn’t connecting.
Many had hoped that strong word of mouth would help boost the film, similar to what happened with 2017′s “The Greatest Showman.” But “West Side Story” took in only $2.8 million in sales over the Christmas weekend.
Maybe because you can’t have word of mouth when the word is all bad.