West Side Story Could Hit Streaming Sooner Than Expected

Reports indicate that 20th Century Studios is deciding if they should send West Side Story to streaming sooner than the 45-day theatrical window.

West Side Story movie streaming reportedly could hit streaming sooner than expected. Being both an adaptation of one of the most famous musicals of all time and the remake of a beloved film classic, along with the addition of Steven Spielberg directing, positioned West Side Story as one of the potential blockbusters of the holiday season. Combine that with the strong reviews, it appeared that West Side Story had all the makings of being a major hit.

However, the positive critical response did not translate to an opening weekend smash, where West Side Story was number 1 at the box office but only brought in $10.6 million, opening even less than the summer’s In The Heights. With so much competition in the coming weeks from films like Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Matrix Resurrections, Sing 2, The Kings Man, and Nightmare Alley, it seemed like West Side Story was going to have an uphill battle to turn a profit off its $100 million dollar budget. Since the pandemic, many studios have adopted a 45-day theatrical window before sending films to PVOD and streaming, and some box office disappointments get sent sooner, but it appears West Side Story is in a complicated situation.

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According to THR, discussions are taking place on when exactly to send West Side Story to streaming. Reportedly, 20th Century Studios want to hold the film a little longer, hoping to get a bump from the upcoming holiday season. Additionally, they are considering holding it longer than the traditional 45-day theatrical window that has become the new industry norm in hopes to help the film’s Oscars chances with nominations being announced on February 8, 2022. Spielberg is a big proponent for the theatrical window, but industry insiders say that Spielberg is coming around to the realities of how the old theatrical window is changing and that his film will hit homes sooner than his other pictures. West Side Story can be sent to Disney+, Hulu and HBO due to a prior deal 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) had with the company.

The Academy Awards delay is an interesting one as the announcements are past the 45-day theatrical window, so 20th Century Studios would have a lot of faith in the film’s chances if they were to hold on that long in hopes of an Oscars box-office bump. With The Last Duel bombing and Eternals’ critical reaction not matching Marvel’s expectations, West Side Story is now Disney and 20th Century Studios’ best chance at an Oscar nomination, so the studio is likely very much invested in the film, and given Spielberg’s involvement and the critical response, it has a strong chance of securing major nominations.

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There is some box-office hope for West Side Story. While the film opened low, so did 2017’s The Greatest Showman, which opened with $9 million in its opening weekend, but had tremendous staying power over the holiday season and into January where it eventually made $174.3 million at the domestic box office. Word of mouth for West Side Story along with the fact it just received four Golden Globe nominations could help its chances. While older audiences are the least likely to return to theaters, it also means they are less likely to rush out to opening weekend and might hold off a few additional weeks, so West Side Story could see a bump in time.