Buried in the theatrical wreckage of IN THE HEIGHTS is some good news for exhibitors.
Hollywood handicappers loved Lin-Manuel Miranda’s early Tony award-winning musical and thought it would hit box office heights. Critics loved it, too — 96% Certified Fresh on RT. Moviegoers, however, didn’t know the play, didn’t care about critics & mostly stayed home — like their soft first choice tracking indicated.
When HEIGHTS opened to a lowly $11.5M, but with great exit polls, there were hopes it would find its audience in the coming weeks. But plummeting ticket sales in Weekend 2 show that’s not happening. Word of mouth spreads instantly today via social media and audiences don’t “find” films as they did 20 years ago. If they’re going, they’re there opening weekend.
Others said HEIGHTS’ fizzled because its older audience saw it “free” on HBO Max. But streaming researcher Samba TV found in its first 3 days it reached just 693K TV households — vs. 3.8M for MORTAL KOMBAT.
Turns out, films perform in streaming about as well as they do theatrically. And that’s good news for exhibitors — the problem wasn’t streaming, it was the picture.