West Side's Bellyflop: The Dam Is Breaking
A Spielberg spectacle can't hold back the trendlines
So another week in which The Rules still pretty much stand:
• Nothing opens other than giant tentpoles .
• Giant tentpoles can't open big enough to pay for themselves.
As for West Side Story – can you believe people don't want to see West Side Story? The most famous musical in the world for Baby Boomers! It's pre-sold!
So have you met Americans lately or the entertainment consumers of the world? It may shock you to learn that they aren't versed in the history of midcentury American musical theater. The mass culture as it stands can barely remember who Katy Perry was and won't take kindly to anyone pointing out to them that entertainment existed in a time before that.
As for whether the film will have legs: do any of you recall how West Side Story ends? (Spoiler alert: Tony doesn't reveal he's really Iron Man.)
Can any of you recall the last time a four-quadrant movie sent the audiences out into the world on such a dour note — particularly in a dour time? I attended in the company of two children, the audience that Story needs if you're going to talk about the Greatest Showman word-of-mouth path. The youth in my company walked out stunned that a movie had done that to them at the end. Almost betrayed that such a loyal friend could whack them in the face with a two-by-four.