Steven Spielberg has been going on about a West Side Story remake for years now, insisting that it was on the top of his list of potential projects. His dreams have finally come true, with the film finally being released in theatres last week. This is the manifestation of Spielberg’s obsession with the source material which he had confessed to back in 2014.
According to the director, West Side Story is his favourite Broadway musical and even called it “one of the greatest pieces of musical literature”. While praising the scores and the lyrical mastery, Spielberg gushed that he could not stop thinking about the production. While discussing his remake, Spielberg also insisted that his remake is more in accordance with the 1957 Broadway production than the film adaptation.
However, West Side Story hasn’t really enjoyed the kind of opening day success that is usually associated with a Steven Spielberg film. According to latest reports, the film was more successful than its competitors on the US charts by racking up a $4.1million (£3.5million) gross on Friday but it’s still nowhere close to the initial expected earnings which projected that West Side Story would make $10million (£7.5million) over the weekend.
Experts claim that this is likely the result of the lingering inhibitions about attending screenings at theatres due to the pandemic and the latest reports of new variants popping up. Despite the initial failures, Spielberg’s new $100 million project might just go into profit-making territory over a longer period of time just like other films have done in the past.
West Side Story is an extremely personal project for Spielberg as it was the first time his family brought popular music into the household. Describing it as a “haunting temptation,” Spielberg confessed that he had been in love with West Side Story since he was a child. Although his vision hasn’t translated into commercial success just yet, many critics have already declared it to be better than the 1961 film.
Watch the trailer for Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story below.