‘Dear Evan Hansen’ disappoints as ‘Shang-Chi’ becomes biggest film of 2021
Universal Pictures

‘Dear Evan Hansen’ disappoints as ‘Shang-Chi’ becomes biggest film of 2021

Dear Evan Hansen,” a film based on the beloved Broadway hit musical, opened to a paltry $7.5 million at the North American box office this weekend.

Estimates for the Universal Pictures film, which has Ben Platt reprising his role as the titular character, were all over the map. Some analysts believed the film would make around $10 million while others projected closer to what the film ultimately brought in.

However, $7.5 million is disappointing for a film that’s based on a Tony Award-winning musical with a strong fan base, a US national tour and a London production.

There are multiple reasons why “Evan Hansen” failed to bring in more ticket sales. For starters, the movie theater industry is still recovering from the ongoing pandemic.

And the film itself was widely panned by critics, gaining a 33% score on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. In his own review of “Dear Evan Hansen,” CNN’s Brian Lowry wrote that its songs were “modest compensation for watching this slow-motion train wreck unfold.”

That said, the film was enjoyed by those who did go to see it, garnering an “A-” CinemaScore.

Musicals in general are a hit-and-miss proposition at the box office. For every success like 2008’s “Mamma Mia!,” which had a $27.7 million opening weekend, there are disappointments like this summer’s “In The Heights,” whose first weekend pulled in only $11 million.

From its opening weekend, “Evan Hansen” looks like it’s heading toward the latter category.

Elsewhere at the box office, Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” keeps finding success.

The action film nabbed the No. 1 spot for the fourth weekend in a row at the North American box office with a $13.3 million take. The film, which has grossed $363.4 million globally and $196.5 million domestically, is the highest-grossing domestic film of 2021 so far.

The Marvel movie will have competition in the coming weeks, however.

October looks to be one of the most significant periods on the movie calendar since the pandemic started. The month kicks off next week with Sony’s comic book film “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” which will be followed by the highly anticipated, and much delayed, James Bond film “No Time to Die.”

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