In 1962, Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' big screen adaptation of West Side Story became one of the most successful titles in the history of the Academy Awards, being nominated in 11 categories, and winning 10 of them. It was a historic night that further firmly cemented the movie's legacy – so it definitely feels utterly appropriate that on the night of the 2021 Oscars we now have the very first trailer for the upcoming remake from director Steven Spielberg.
It was all the way back in 2014 that Spielberg started thinking about creating a new version of one of the most popular movie musicals of all time, and while he has a bit of a reputation for developing projects for years and then dropping them, this is one that the filmmaker never let go. In the years since that news broke, the director made Bridge Of Spies (2015), The BFG (2016), The Post (2017), and Ready Player One (2018), but his passion to make West Side Story remained consistent, and now it's finally just a few months away from release.
The first Steven Spielberg-directed musical, West Side Story is set in 1950s New York City and tells the story of Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler), two star-crossed teenagers whose relationship is made complicated by their individual connections with rival street gangs. The talented supporting cast includes Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Corey Stoll, Brian d'Arcy James, and Rita Moreno (who played Anita, Maria's best friend, in the original, and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress).
We were originally supposed to see the release of Steven Spielberg's West Side Story at the end of last year, making it a contender for this year's awards season... but we all know what wound up happening in 2020. When last fall rolled around and Walt Disney Studios saw that the pandemic wasn't going to allow movies to get full theatrical distribution, the company made the move to delay the film a week short of a full year. While the movie was originally meant to be out in December 2020, it will now be hitting theaters on December 10, 2021.
Will we be continuing to talk about the film ad nauseum when next year's Oscars roll around? The history of both Steven Spielberg and West Side Story with the event suggests that there is a very good chance, but we'll just have to wait and see, as this year is chock full of massively exciting movies that could compete for big awards, including multiple others that were originally meant to come out in 2020. To learn about the full slate of features that are set to come out between now and the start of 2022, be sure to check out our 2021 Movie Release Schedule.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.