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Why In The Heights Flopping Felt So 'Sh---y' To Star Melissa Barrera

Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter in Scream
(Image credit: Paramount )

Melissa Barrera is having a great start to 2022, as she's not only become a scream queen but has done so in none-other-than the fifth Scream movie, alongside Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox. The new horror installment has already become the first hit of the new year by dethroning Spider-Man: No Way Home at the box office last week for the No. 1 spot. However, Barrera’s flick 2021 summer flick, In The Heights, didn’t receive the same attention and the actress admitted to feeling "shitty" about it.

Jon M. Chu’s big-screen adaptation of In The Heights was one of the best movies of 2021 that it seems as though no one saw. It brought Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway musical to theaters and HBO Max last summer and was met with massive critical acclaim. However, when it came to its commercial performance, it was a flop. The movie made $43 million worldwide against a production budget of $55 million and millions more spent on its marketing. Melissa Barrera shared her reaction to what happened with In The Heights

I never feel good about a movie not doing well at the box office because, for some reason, that becomes the defining factor of whether a movie is good or not. I just thought that it was so unfair what happened with In the Heights. All the headlines that started coming out after we premiered were so brutal and horrible, and they felt very personal to me. It just felt like the industry was blaming us for not doing well and was blaming the fact that we were all Latinos and was blaming the fact that it was a musical that not a lot of people knew. So it just felt very personal, and I remember feeling very shitty afterwards. I was in quarantine in Vancouver because I was about to shoot another show, so I was literally sitting on a couch and reading everything. So it was awful, and it was probably one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt. I don’t wish that on anyone.

There were high expectations on the movie when it hit theaters last year. Considering Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton was a huge hit when it reached Disney+, many expected the musical to revitalize the summer box office. The film started its run at No.1 with an $11 million domestic opening, but quickly fell below the ranks. It was also impacted by the fact that it was readily available to stream on HBO Max. But as Melissa Barrera recalls, she felt how the industry reported on the film’s failure was really “unfair.” Barrera continued to The Hollywood Reporter with these words: 

It’s such a weird time that we’re living in, and what happened with In the Heights wasn’t our fault. I’ve just learned to not have any expectations. All I can control is my experience while making a film and feeling proud of the work that I’ve done. So I’ve stopped thinking about anything else after that. I hope to God that we can continue going to the movies.

Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, another comparable (and also very good) 2021 musical dealt with a similar roadblock when it hit theaters later in the year. Many attribute the downward slump of musicals in theaters to older audiences still feeling uncomfortable about going out to see movies with the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, you could see younger audiences were leading what was successful in theaters, especially with a number of big wins for horror releases. 

Although Melissa Barrera had a bad experience with In The Heights’ performance, she certainly doesn’t with Scream. The horror movie has already made back its production budget of $25 million as it heads into its second weekend with a worldwide gross of $59 million already. That being said, her musical's flop status is not indicative of its quality. You can check it out now with an HBO Max subscription

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.