It’s Official: Steven Spielberg is Remaking ’West Side Story’

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JozefK, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. rodrigosanche55

    rodrigosanche55 Forum Resident

    Madrid, Spain
    God what an amazing masterpiece I have just watched!!! Incredible. Spielberg at the top of his game. This is Cinema with capital C. Outstanding. Will watch it again (Matrix can wait for the tv).
    Darren Richardson, Pizza, SRC and 4 others like this.
  2. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Matrix 4 is a good-looking movie on the big screen too! No regrets seeing either that or WSS on premium screens. I think those two, Dune and Black Widow were the most worthy big screen experiences of the year for me. And also Ghostbusters: Afterlife in 4DX only...the 4DX conversion on that was one of the best 4DX experiences ever. The Ghostbusters visuals alone didn't quite require a big screen because they weren't really that large scale in nature.

    The Variety Oscar shortlist and their predictions don't quite show WSS cleaning up at the Oscars. This article has a really nice list with every single contender in each category ranked in order. Below is where WSS is ranked in each category where it's eligible. They rank it high enough to get 8 nominations and only 1 win, for Ariana DeBose.

    In comparison, Dune outranks it in 8 out of 12 categories where they're both eligible to compete, and is projected to win Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup and Sound among those, as well as Visual Effects and Score. Other movies projected to beat out WSS in eligible categories include Belfast (3), The Power of the Dog (2), King Richard, Spencer and Nightmare Alley. And other major wins where WSS is not competing include Licorice Pizza, Encanto and King Richard. So Variety is projecting a split win on Picture/Director with l0w-budget indie movies, and a big sweep for Dune on technical awards.

    2022 Oscars Shortlist: Song, Documentary, International, and Visuals - Variety

    Last edited: Dec 24, 2021
  3. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Some sobering thoughts from noted critic and historian Leonard Maltin...

    But somewhere along the way I checked out emotionally. I knew where the story was headed, of course, and I no longer felt engaged. Is that the filmmakers’ fault or mine? All I know is, I couldn’t summon the same reaction I did when I first saw West Side Story so many years ago. It represents a moment in my young life that I can’t hope to reproduce.

    Do today’s young moviegoers deserve an opportunity to make the same kind of discovery I did? Of course they do…but following that logic, Hollywood should feel impelled to remake every great musical of decades past. This shiny new, ethnically aware version of West Side Story will live alongside the earlier film for years to come. Only time will tell if it supplants the original.unit

    Darren Richardson and hi_watt like this.
  4. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    When I was kid, in the original, the cast seemed obviously older, but watching the previews it seems this cast is really, really young. Will it matter? We'll see...
  5. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

  6. brucewayneofgotham

    brucewayneofgotham Forum Resident

    with everything else tanking with this (except) Spidey. I think the film's OSCAR chances have improved ten-fold , since last week.
  7. Drifter

    Drifter AAD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    [​IMG] Interesting! For me, one of the things that made the 1961 film so much better was...the amazing cinematography.
    spencer1 likes this.
  8. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Senior Member

    It's official now, WSS is a box office bomb, any hope for a rebound or holiday bounce is gone.

    • Despite rave reviews, Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” has failed to gain traction with audiences at the box office.
    • In its first three weeks in cinemas, the film has captured just $36.6 million in global ticket sales. Its production budget was around $100 million, not including marketing costs.
    • Box office analysts say the film suffered because it was targeted at older audiences, who are hesitant to return to cinemas during the pandemic, lacked a major Hollywood star and was pit against “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
    Despite rave reviews, Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” has failed to gain traction with audiences at the box office.

    In its first three weeks in cinemas, the adaption of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical, has captured just $36.6 million in global ticket sales. Its production budget was around $100 million, not including marketing costs.

    “Sounds like a write-off to me,” said Eric Handler, media and entertainment analyst at MKM Partners. “The markets that have done the best have been New York and L.A. The film wasn’t able to grab middle America, and it didn’t seem to have that great of a penetration into the Latino community.”

    “West Side Story” tells the tale of love-struck teenagers from two different social classes in New York City during the 1950s. Tony, a young white boy with ties to a gang called the Jets, and Maria, a young Puerto Rican girl with ties to the Sharks gang. The Sharks and the Jets are in the midst of a struggle for control of the Upper West Side of the city, making Tony and Maria’s love forbidden.

    The musical launched on Broadway in 1957 and has been revived a dozen times in the decades since.

    Spielberg’s new iteration, distributed by Disney’s 20th Century Studios, generated largely positive reviews from critics, earning a 93% Certified “Fresh” Rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was praised for its choreography and singing performances. However, this wasn’t enough to bring moviegoers to cinemas.

    ″[‘West Side Story’] was largely a victim of timing and an inability to attract younger moviegoers,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at “Women over 35 are the drivers of most musicals. Not only has that audience been the most cautious to return to public social spaces like the movie theater during the pandemic, but renewed concern created by omicron headlines seems to have played a major role in doubling down on that hesitance for the time being.”

    Box office analysts said “West Side Story” also likely suffered from not having a big Hollywood star attached and because its release was so close to that of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe Film has dominated at the box office over the last two weeks.

    In its opening weekend, “West Side Story” garnered $10.5 million, but the figure was more than halved during its second weekend when the film tallied just $3 million.

    ″‘West Side Story’ was supposed to rebound this week,” said Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “You can’t rebound when you were never in the box office game to begin with.”

    Many had hoped that strong word of mouth would help boost the film, similar to what happened with 2017′s “The Greatest Showman.” But “West Side Story” took in only $2.8 million over the Christmas weekend.

    The box office is an industry of diminishing returns, meaning each week a film will make smaller and smaller amounts. At this pace, “West Side Story” is not expected to turn a profit.

    “And when you spend $100 million to do that, it will certainly cause studios to reevaluate song and dance numbers going forward,” Bock said.

    Movie musicals have struggled at the box office in recent years. During the pandemic, “Dear Evan Hansen” scored less than $20 million during its global theatrical run and “In the Heights,” which had a dual release in theaters and on HBO Max, secured just $43.8 million worldwide.

    2019′s “Cats,” which replaced the iconic Broadway costumes with digital fur, bombed at the box office, pulling in just $72.4 million globally on a production budget of around $95 million, not including marketing costs.

    In fact, the highest-grossing musical films in the last five years were 2019′s “Frozen II,” which topped $1.4 billion globally and 2017′s live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” which reached $1.2 billion. The only other film in the musical category to top $500 million globally was the animated feature from Illumination called “Sing,” according to Comscore data.

    “The musical genre, at least for now, seems to have fallen out of favor for modern audiences,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
    Vidiot likes this.
  9. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    It actually had a way better hold on Christmas weekend than any other non-expanding film in over 100 theaters, -23.4%. Everything else dropped over 50%. So it's finally showing signs of good word-of-mouth, but too little, too late.

    Domestic 2021 Weekend 52 - Box Office Mojo

    I can't remember the last time I heard that a movie became a "home video hit" that didn't do well at the box office. Don't know if that still happens, or if we still have any way of knowing about it with streaming numbers being kept secret. We now seem to have had a period of 'adult' movies bombing for 6 months. And I don't know if the adults are avoiding theaters and planning to watch them at home or if that's just wishful thinking.

    Funny thing is, I've seen quotes from some of the major people who worked on it saying when they were offered the job, they thought it would be a surefire bomb, but then became convinced to work on it. So sounds like this result was not entirely unpredictable.

    I do think if Fox still existed, they would've marketed all of their films this year differently and better. The performance of the Fox titles this year is terrible all around. I think only Free Guy made a profit, probably because it's the only one Disney ever would've considered making on their own.

    9 Free Guy $121,626,598
    42 Ron's Gone Wrong $23,009,026
    44 West Side Story $21,122,823
    49 The French Dispatch $15,926,922
    59 The Last Duel $10,853,945
    60 Antlers $10,619,670
    67 The Night House $7,100,581
    73 Nightmare Alley $5,404,829
    80 Nomadland $3,700,000
    82 The King's Man $3,675,412
    95 The Eyes of Tammy Faye $2,404,127
    96 Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) $2,320,649
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2021
    Deuce66 likes this.
  10. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Senior Member

    It's a job and a chance to work with a legendary director, critical and fan reviews indicate that the quality of their work was A+. It doesn't always translate to box office success, look at Shawshank Redemption that's a perfect example of a movie that found extended life post theatrical.

    With DVD/Blu/4K sales way down I don't know how movies ($ losers) can hope to recoup losses once their run is over. WSS will stream on Disney + eventually, will that add a few subscribers? I think that's highly unlikely.
    brownie61 likes this.
  11. Pizza

    Pizza With extra pepperoni

    I saw WSS earlier today. Absolutely loved it. Truly a shame it’s not finding an audience. I’ll be rooting for it at the Oscars. Hopefully it’ll win and find some well-deserved attention.
  12. Quadboy

    Quadboy Forum Resident

    Watched this today for the first time [mostly due to this remake] ........... the original that is on BBC Tv and enjoyed it very much.
    It did/would persuade me to catch the new version if it stays in local theatres long enough?
    Having never seen the film before i never realised how many of the famous songs i was infact familiar with ....... from other sources.
    It did make me query whether [the stunning] Natalie Wood was actually singing the songs in a Spanish accent or did someone else take over those duties?
    JediJones likes this.
  13. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Berlin, Germany
    Neither Wood nor Beymer did sing themselves. Some of the other lead characters were dubbed for their songs as well.

    From Wiki:

    As provided in her contract, Wood prerecorded her songs and allowed the production team to decide whether to use her voice. She found the songs challenging, but was allowed to film her scenes lip-synching to her own vocals and was led to believe that these versions would be used, although music supervisors Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green had already decided to use Marni Nixon's voice. Wood's singing voice is only heard during the reprise of the song "Somewhere" when Tony dies. Though Nixon had recorded the songs in the same orchestra sessions as Wood, she had to re-record them to synch with Wood's filmed performances. Even the one song for which Wood had lip-synched to Nixon's voice, "One Hand, One Heart", had to be recorded again because Wood's lip-synching was unsatisfactory.[42] When Marni Nixon learned that she had not signed a contract for participating in the recording and demanded a percentage of the LP record, she was told that all percentages had been allocated. Bernstein gave her 0.25% of his album royalties. This set a precedent for all future "ghost singers".[43]

    Beymer's vocals were performed by Jimmy Bryant. Tucker Smith, who played Ice, dubbed the singing voice of Riff in "Jet Song", instead of Russ Tamblyn. Tamblyn's own voice was used in "Gee, Officer Krupke" and the "Quintet". Rita Moreno was dubbed by Betty Wand in the song "A Boy Like That" because the song needed to be performed at a register that was too low for her. However, Moreno sang her own vocals in "America". Marni Nixon sang some of Moreno's parts in the "Quintet" when illness prevented Moreno from doing so. Wand was also ill on the day of final recording, and so Nixon recorded Anita's vocal line as well.
    rodrigosanche55, Drifter and Quadboy like this.
  14. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Similar thing happened on My Fair Lady.

    How My Fair Lady Was Almost Lost

    When accepting the role, Hepburn was lead to believe that her singing voice would make it to the final cut. After all, she had sung in Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (for an Oscar winning song too). However, in the end, her voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon who, after letting the cat out of the bag, was shunned by Hollywood for a period of time. Nixon also dubbed for Deborah Kerr in The King and I and Natalie Wood in West Side Story.
  15. spencer1

    spencer1 Great Western Forum Resident

    My wife and I just watched it.
    It was very well done, the ending was powerful but when it was over we looked at each other and said, "Why remake it?"
    (We've loooong been big fans of and much prefer the original)
    Drifter, Vidiot and SandAndGlass like this.
  16. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Aaaaaaaand the post mortems have begun. It's hard to feel sorry for Spielberg (arguably the biggest director in film history, with a net worth of $8 billion dollars), but West Side Story's failure at the box office must have been a crushing blow...

    'West Side Story' Bombs at the Box Office; What That Means for Theaters

    Spielberg’s unnecessary remake flopped because it wasn’t actually for anyone.

    I like to believe there's always room for at the box office for big movies, small movies, action movies, musicals, dramas, detective stories, adult movies, kid movies, all kinds of movies. But I think the simplest explanation for West Side Story is the one Leonard Maltin posed: "who was this film made for?" And there's no real audience for it -- to me. It's not a bad film at all, in fact it's an incredibly well-made film, but I felt kinda "eh" once it was over. And I went in with low expectations.

    A cynic would say: Spielberg just made the movie for himself as an arrogant move, simple because he could. And there's a lot of things in life where just because you could do them doesn't mean you should. Sadly, I think there was nobody around to tell a filmmaker at Spielberg's level, "ya know, maybe this is not such a great idea."
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2021
  17. mace

    mace Forum Resident

    Just about everything out of Hollywood today is a remake. Maybe the people are tired of it and this explains poor box office.
  18. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    What fully original films are doing well?

    Hollywood makes sequels, reboots, spinoffs and remakes because people don't go to see anything else.

    There are only 4 movies in the top 25 domestic that were fully original, not based on anything pre-existing, Free Guy, Encanto, Raya and the Last Dragon and Old.

    Some movies under that level which were original...House of Gucci, Nobody, Respect, Ron's Gone Wrong, The Green Knight, The French Dispatch, King Richard, The Last Duel, Cry Macho, Last Night in Soho, The Protege, Those Who Wish Me Dead, Spencer, Belfast, Nightmare Alley, Nomadland, Licorice Pizza. Many well-reviewed, many with known stars, but the audiences still eat up the established brand name stuff much more than anything original.
  19. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Nightmare Alley was a remake, but of a 55-year-old Tyrone Power film that not a lot of people remember. Several years ago, I posted a controversial thread about how Scorsese complained that "Superhero movies are not real movies," and at the time it sounded like an old-timer wheezing that "these kids today" couldn't handle seeing an adult drama about real issues and human emotions. But I think some of what he said had merit.

    Note that I'm a huge Marvel movie fan and always try to see everything they release, but it's kind of like a sloppy chili-cheeseburger: I like them once or twice a month, but not for every meal.
    rodrigosanche55 likes this.
  20. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    I think genre prejudice is wrong for the most part. Horror is the most disreputable genre, but everyone will agree it's still produced some classic movies. The brand loyalty to Marvel has taken on a life of its own though. To the point where, in an eerie parallel to the old comic book days of 30 years ago, it's become common for Marvel Studios' fans to trash DC's movies, hope that they fail, and so on. The "everything DC sucks except Batman" attitude. And forget about any third party superhero movies trying to get attention at this point. The recent Hellboy, Bloodshot, Dredd and the formerly Marvel-comic-book-inspired Snake Eyes went nowhere.

    The brand loyalty to Marvel Studios looks much more like the fandom for a TV series than it does a typical movie series. One bad sequel can kill interest in a movie series, but the Marvel fans seem to view the whole movie series as one continuous thing. Even if one episode isn't as good as the last one, they're in for the long haul and will keep watching. Eternals showed where the floor to the series is now, and its floor is something any studio would be dearly envious to have. The floor at which a title is impervious to bad reviews still gives almost a guarantee of breaking even on a budget of $200m or less. What goes up can certainly come down, but there's seemingly no end in sight for Marvel's dominance.

    Where Scorsese might have his best point is in how this kind of series encourages homogeny. The fans want each movie to feel consistent with what's come before, just like with a TV series. So that creates additional pressure to suppress original ideas even beyond the limitations of the genre. It would be very hard for Marvel to get away with some kind of genre-busting deconstruction of their material aimed at adults like DC's Watchmen.

    Using established IP obviously doesn't always succeed, as West Side Story shows. It also seems like the decline in the amount of comedy movies being made ties in with the decline in original movies. Because comedy sequels tend to do poorly, and original ideas were still considered the preferred angle to take with comedies in recent years. Not a surprise that the top original concept movie of the year, Free Guy, is also a comedy. But the difficulty in exporting comedies overseas seems to have led to studios making less and less of them.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2021
    rodrigosanche55 likes this.
  21. Pizza

    Pizza With extra pepperoni

    The pandemic has quickly changed the demographics for movies. I used to go to the movies a couple of times a month. Until two weeks ago, I haven’t been in a theater for over two years.

    I just saw West Side Story and previously No Time to Die. I knew the showings would be dead as 007 had been out for several months and WSS is sadly crashing and burning. I also used the online seating charts to see which showings had the least seats sold to decide what screenings I’d attend. Counting myself, 007 had 3 and WSS had 4.

    I think WSS best chance would have been to pop in the theaters for a week and then Netflix/Prime immediately the second week. I feel it would have gotten more positive buzz around it and probably would have done extremely well in comparison to what is happening. I think over time it will slowly find its audience.

    Spider-man did it no favors. In fact, Spider-man is probably sealing the fate for non-comic book movies in general. The holidays used to have room for popcorn movies and other genres to share seats. That’s done for now. Heck, maybe Sony is in the driver seat now more so than Marvel at the moment. The Spider verse may be currently bigger than the Marvel verse.

    Anyway, if Spielberg’s Lincoln, for example, came out now I suspect it probably would have met a similar fate as West Side Story.
  22. dance_hall_keeper

    dance_hall_keeper Forum Resident

    I love the OG. But reading about the scant number initial attendees leads me this…

    Q: Is this a hard sell to younger folk who are hearing the words, “West Side Story” for the first time?
  23. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Very. I feel like the trailer should've had an old school narrator introducing Tony, Maria, the Jets and the Sharks with a little description. The subtle approach didn't make it clear what the movie was about.
  24. SRC

    SRC That sums up Squatter for me

    New York, NY
    It's so tiring to see these moronic articles that talk about how the film is not "actually for anyone" and that "there's no real audience for it", when I've now seen it twice in the theater, both times with different groups of people who absolutely loved it, and right now, it's my favorite film of all time.

    I don't know what compels people to spread this nonsense around, it's like a virus, everyone just starts repeating the same sh1t over and over and over.
  25. shokhead

    shokhead Head shok and you still don't what it is. HA!

    Some movies just shouldn’t have a remake.
    Drifter and SandAndGlass like this.

Share This Page