In The Heights Falls Short Of Expectations In Its Box Office Debut

The cast of In the Heights (2021)

With massive movie releases making a return, there are a number of high-profile titles that have been set to hit screens over the course of the summer. In the Heights is one of those films, as the big-screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’s play seemed to stoke up some major buzz ahead of its theatrical and streaming release this past Friday. The movie was expected to have a solid outing during its first weekend at the box office. However, this weekend now sees holdover A Quiet Place Part II take the top spot, and In the Heights has ultimately come in short of projected expectations.

Going into the weekend, In The Heights was pegged as opening in the No. 1 spot with a $24 million opening weekend. However, the film would get off to a slow start with a soft $5 million haul on Friday, with expectations then being adjusted for a weekend haul of $15 million. But now, according to THR, the film is expected to finish out its weekend with a domestic total of $11.4 million, which places it in the No. 2 spot.

In the Heights’ soft opening likely has industry analysts wondering what happened. One of the main factors many are likely pondering is how the simultaneous HBO Max release might have affected the box office numbers. However, it should be noted that as is usual for the company, HBO Max has not provided viewership numbers for the movie, so we cannot be sure of any potential effect. And as the trade also mentions, brand recognition may have played a role, given that audiences tend to gravitate towards major IPs.

One should also note that all of Warner Bros.’ 2021 releases have had same-day releases in theaters and on HBO Max, and a number of the studio’s other offerings managed to perform quite well. Warner Bros.’ Godzilla vs. Kong, which was released back in March, became one of the most successful films of 2021, raking in a worldwide gross of $441 million. And while they didn’t reach the heights of the latest MonsterVerse installment, Mortal Kombat and the recently released The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It also managed to find success. Still, the aforementioned films all belong to established franchises.

While In the Heights gets off to a slow debut, A Quiet Place Part II is still rolling right along. The John Krasinski-directed feature, which is in its third weekend at the box office, pulled in $11.7 million, enough to earn it the No. 1 spot this week. In addition, the movie recently reached a major milestone, as it became the first film to pull in over $100 million domestically during the pandemic era.

Aside from the top two films, the newly released Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, opened with a domestic total of $10.4 million, which put the movie slightly below projected expectations. Warner Bros.’ The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It also saw a 58% decline, finishing its second weekend with $10 million. Finally, Disney’s Cruella, which is in its third weekend at the box office and on Disney+ with Premier Access, rounded out the top five with $6.7 million.

In the Heights’ performance certainly comes as a surprise, especially when you consider its rave reviews and the massive marketing push behind it. It’ll be interesting to see how the film continues to perform in the weeks to come.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.