‘West Side Story’ Announces Disney Plus Premiere Date
A day after the movie earned seven Oscar nominations, Disney announced that Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story was coming to streaming on Disney+ next month. The movie will debut on the service on March 2.
Based on the 1957 stage musical, and previously made into the Academy Award winner for Best Picture back in 1961, West Side Story is the first musical of Spielberg’s career. Despite getting excellent reviews — including from ScreenCrush — the film struggled mightily at the box office, grossing just $36 million in the U.S. and $64 million worldwide; it was his lowest-grossing movie domestically since 1987’s Empire of the Sun.
Theories as to why West Side Story flopped vary. Surely, the film suffered in part because it opened just as the omicron wave of the Covid pandemic began to surge around the country, and in part because it faced stiff competition from Spider-Man: No Way Home, which wound up making well over $1.5 billion at the box office, monopolizing most of the potential ticket buyers and a lot of the available movie theater screens around the country. Maybe the fact that it was a remake of a very famous movie that’s widely available as well made people feel like they could wait to see it at home — and on March 2, that’s what they’ll be able to do.
That doesn’t mean the movie was bad. (I had it at #9 on my list of the best movies of 2021, ahead of presumptive Best Picture frontrunner, The Power of the Dog.) Yesterday, it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Director for Spielberg, his eighth nomination. (He’s won twice, for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan.) West Side Story will be the first Spielberg movie available on Disney+. It’ll also be among the darker and more mature films on the service, as it includes murders, violence, stabbings, and a heavy dose of racist language. So keep that in mind if you’re thinking of watching that with little kids.
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