Even before the pandemic, Cats bombed with a $6.6 million opening weekend, and the Golden Globe-winning Rocketman had an only decent opening weekend at $25.7 million. Confounding Hollywood producers even more, in the same year, Aladdin was pummeled by critics but still managed to be the musical success of 2019, raking in $1 billion worldwide. 

In 2021, movie musicals In the Heights and Dear Evan Hansen both had small opening weekends. In contrast, the billion-dollar returns from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, which had budgets of $160 million and $183 million, respectively, likely owed more to the popular animated and theme park underpinnings of both properties. West Side Story’s $100 million budget hovered in the same territory but had an opening weekend below that of In The Heights, which had half the budget of Spielberg’s film. Some estimates project that West Side Story will need to earn at least $300 million globally to make back its investment. 

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