West Side Story Box Office: New Spielberg Musical Rides Great Reviews To Fine Enough Performance

Rachel Zegler turning to look over her shoulder in West Side Story
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

With excellent reviews from critics and potential Oscar nominations in the near future, the big question this weekend was how West Side Story would perform at the box office. The Steven Spielberg musical has sat on the shelf for awhile, and there have been a lot of questions about whether fans had an appetite for another musical this year. Well, the results are in, and it’s a mixed bag. West Side Story didn’t exactly put up dream numbers for 20th Century Studios, but it did do enough to prove there is some interest and narrowly crossed the $10M mark.

The film won this weekend's box office race with an estimated $10.5M, topping its nearest competitors Encanto ($9.4M) and Ghostbusters: Afterlife ($7.1M). You can check out the top performers this weekend, courtesy of The Numbers...

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(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)
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West Side Story*$10,500,000$10,500,000N/A2,820
Ghostbusters: Afterlife$7,100,000$112,004,28123,815
House Of Gucci$4,060,749$41,032,12133,407
Resident Evil: Raccoon City$1,650,000$15,851,94462,572
Clifford The Big Red Dog$1,325,000$47,708,81182,840
Christmas With The Chosen$1,280,000$13,800,00041,600
Venom: Let There Be Carnage$850,000$212,052,968111,003

Like family movies and adult dramas, musicals, or at least the right musicals, do have a history of rolling at the box office for awhile. As The Numbers pointed out this week in its box office predictions, The Greatest Showman only opened to $8.8M and ultimately went on to gross more than $170M domestically thanks to people telling their friends to go. It would obviously be a huge stretch for West Side Story to get to that total, but with all the positivity around the movie, it could run for awhile, especially if it starts showing up at all the various award shows for the next few months.

Beyond West Side Story, we definitely need to comment on the solid holds here from Encanto and Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Both movies, which were one and two last week, retained a really nice share of their audience, and to still be flirting with double digits this many weeks in is quite impressive, especially from Ghostbusters: Afterlife. That movie just will not quit. I was listening to the local radio the other day, and the host mentioned having recently saw the film and being way happier than expected. That seems to be the standard reaction from a lot of fans, and it’s a very good sign for the franchise’s future.

House of Gucci is another film that could hold a little bit, especially if Lady Gaga fully gets into the awards conversation. Her performance has consistently been singled out as one of the best things about Ridley Scott’s newest. If she shows up at the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes (predictions here), she’ll be looking very likely for an Oscar nomination, and that may push some people on the fence into buying tickets. The same could be said for Jared Leto, as well, whose performance has been praised by many but also has a few more detractors. 

Regardless, from a pure money standpoint, everyone is looking to Spider-Man: No Way Home’s opening next weekend. Peter Parker’s latest outing will cruise to a box office victory, and it may even net one of the biggest December openings in Hollywood history. It’ll also likely be a welcome pandemic victory for theaters across the world looking for event movies big enough to push people to the big screen. 

Editor In Chief

Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.