Jake Lipson

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That's not a poster. It's a teaser image that was put out online. It never hung in movie theaters; I don't think they actually printed it up. The only people who would have seen that are people who looked for it online. Its existence probably cost Disney very little, and won't have any impact on their ability to easily move the film without confusing audiences or losing money.
 

Garysb

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With "Mulan" going to Disney + as a $30 add on ie pay $30 you have access to "Mulan" as long as you are a Disney + subscriber, I can see "West Side Story" follow this model if "Mulan" is successful and theaters stay closed. I know Spielberg and all wont let it happen but Disney can't sit on the investment forever.
 
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Jake Lipson

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Obviously, no one knows anything right now. However, I would be extremely surprised if Disney does that for this title because West Side Story is a very different situation than Mulan.

Mulan cost $200 million to make. Plus, its marketing campaign was already in full swing before the virus happened, because it was originally due for release on March 27. As one of the first titles taken off the board, Disney had already spent millions on marketing and even threw a glitzy Hollywood premiere right before everything shut down. They probably figure that they should just put it out at this point and make whatever they can.

I don't know what West Side Story cost, but I'm sure it is significantly less than $200 million. Spielberg usually doesn't need that much money, except maybe for Ready Player One. So it is not as much of an investment to sit on as Mulan was.

Also, Mulan is targeting a family audience, which West Side Story is certainly not. So far, the only person I know who is going to pay the $30 fee for Mulan is part of a family of four and they will all watch together. West Side Story is a more adult-oriented film and therefore does not have that playability to families with young children. I don't think it is headed for Disney+. If they used this model, it would probably be Hulu. But it's also not something where a lot of people can justify itemizing the cost because they're going to show it to young kids.

Also, Spielberg is one of the most powerful and influential filmmakers in Hollywood. Disney wants to keep him happy because he is going to be a producer on Indiana Jones 5, even though he withdrew from directing it. I cannot imagine a circumstance in which Disney overrides the wishes of Spielberg and puts this on streaming.

Mulan was directed by Nikki Caro. She is a good filmmaker but does not have the power to influence studio decisions on how to release her films that Spielberg enjoys on his.

Lastly, as I already mentioned, Disney hasn't spent any money on a marketing campaign yet, so they haven't lost anything if they delay it to next year. The money they spent promoting Mulan for March release is a sunk cost, and means they might as well put it out while the public is aware of it. West Side Story has not gotten to that point because there has been no marketing.

Is it impossible? No. But I think it's highly unlikely.

Belated edit only to correct a typo.
 
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Jake Lipson

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It will be delayed
I agree with that much.

till next summer.
I think they'll actually just bump it back a whole year to December 2021. This finished filming around fall 2019 but they dated it originally for December 2020 to give it an Oscar season launching pad. They'll want to maintain that. Plus, Warner Bros. is already going next June with In the Heights, another big musical film featuring a largely Latinx cast. It would be wise not to have those in the marketplace at the exact same time because the potential audience overlap is pretty much 100%. it would be smarter for Disney to let In the Heights go first and then cut a trailer for West Side Story to go out with it. That would almost certainly have happened this year if COVID was not a thing and In the Heights had been able to stick to its original release date this June. I think it will still happen next year instead.
 
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Garysb

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We can agree or disagree about what we think will happen with this film or any film but none of us knows what the studios' plans are and all we are doing is speculating until something is announced.
 
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Jake Lipson

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In news that is West Side Story adjacent, Rachel Ziegler posted a new video on YouTube of her covering the song "Valarie." Just as a sample of the voice we're all going to hear when this movie comes out, here's that. I think she is fantastic.


Of note, she still mentions the December 18 release date for West Side Story at the end of the video shortly after reminding people to "not go out unless you absolutely have to." I understand why she would say both things, because Disney has yet to move the film and of course she wants to help promote it. But those two messages seem contradictory. We'll see if that release date sticks. I would not be surprised at all if it moves and hope it does.
 
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Jeffrey D

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In news that is West Side Story adjacent, Rachel Ziegler posted a new video on YouTube of her covering the song "Valarie." Just as a sample of the voice we're all going to hear when this movie comes out, here's that. I think she is fantastic.


Of note, she still mentions the December 18 release date for West Side Story at the end of the video shortly after reminding people to "not go out unless you absolutely have to." I understand why she would say both things, because Disney has yet to move the film and of course she wants to help promote it. But those two messages seem contradictory. We'll see if that release date sticks. I would not be surprised at all if it moves and hope it does.
Yes I doubt any big film will open in theaters until next year.
 
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Garysb

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As indoor theaters start to open this month we will get a better idea of what will happen with new releases.
If people start going to the theaters, major films will be released, If people stay away films will be further postponed. As for social distancing and the resulting reduced capacity perhaps major films can play in more theaters in the multiplex. Where formerly a blockbuster might play in 3 theaters maybe it will play in 5 or 6 so that enough seats are available for the film to make a lot of money.
 

Jake Lipson

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We are now 125 days away from the stated release date for West Side Story. There has been no marketing for it yet. No trailer, no poster, no TV spots.

If it is going to stick to that date, Disney would probably need to unveil a trailer pretty soon.

The longer they go without beginning a marketing campaign, the more likely it becomes that the film will be delayed. This is what I want to happen, because I want to be able to see this film in theaters after a vaccine has been found.
 

Jake Lipson

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Aaron Spielberg, Steven's father, has passed away at age 103.


While it is always hard to lose anyone, fortunately the death was of natural causes and not due to COVID or any other illness. And 103 is an amazingly long life which it sounds from the obituary was very well-lived.

I bring this up in this thread because, obviously, West Side Story will be his son's next released film. I wonder if Steven Spielberg might add a dedication card to his dad at the end of the film or something.
 

Garysb

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Still no official word about when this will be released. I assume December 18th is not realistic. Still if theaters remain open they have to put something in them. A film called "Unhinged" with Russel Crowe recently opened. I had not heard of it. A search of reviews had headlines like this from Vulture
"Russell Crowe’s Road-Rage Thriller Unhinged Isn’t Worth Getting COVID-19 For " I guess the new line in the sand for going to a movie is :

Do I think this will be worth risking COVID-19 for? The answer of course is no film is.
 

Jake Lipson

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Still no official word about when this will be released. I assume December 18th is not realistic.
They have not started an ad campaign for the movie yet. If it were going to come out this year, that would have to start soon. The fact that it hasn't makes it more likely to be delayed.

Still if theaters remain open they have to put something in them.
No, they don't. This is a situation where the interests of the theaters (having new product as soon as possible) and the studios (holding their big movies until the pandemic is over so they can make normal amounts of money) diverge. It is absolutely possible that the studios will continue to delay films as long as this drags on.

The answer of course is no film is.
You hit the nail on the head there. Until there is a vaccine widely available, which we can only hope for next year, a lot of people are going to take that view, which will automatically depress grosses for anything that the studios decide to put out. It's not even about capacity limits; in the incidences where I've checked my local theater's seating charts, Tenet has only been selling two or three or four tickets per showing. Sometimes it's zero. So they aren't even brushing up against capacity limits in any given auditorium. People just aren't showing up.

As I've said before, West Side Story directed by Spielberg is going to appeal in large part to an older audience. I'm not saying that younger audiences will dismiss it, but I think the appeal to an older demographic is significant enough that they'd be losing a lot of money by putting it out this year, moreso than Tenet or other younger-skewing event titles. Plus, this film is going to be +/- 3 hours. We know this because that's just how long West Side Story Is as long as it isn't being butchered. Therefore getting enough showtimes to offset any theoretical capacity limits that they could bump up against would be more challenging for this film due to its length.

Disney just needs to move it to December 2021. It will keep.
 

cinemiracle

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We are now 125 days away from the stated release date for West Side Story. There has been no marketing for it yet. No trailer, no poster, no TV spots.

If it is going to stick to that date, Disney would probably need to unveil a trailer pretty soon.

The longer they go without beginning a marketing campaign, the more likely it becomes that the film will be delayed. This is what I want to happen, because I want to be able to see this film in theaters after a vaccine has been found.
WEST SIDE STORY is a rare film that will not need any advance publicity,trailers etc. .To me it is the most eagerly awaited American film of the year (and the only one so far). It is irrelevant to me when it will finally be released. One must be patient as it will eventually be released. No sense in guessing when that will be.
 

Jake Lipson

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WEST SIDE STORY is a rare film that will not need any advance publicity,trailers etc.
What?

Of course it will need publicity. All films need publicity.

Even Marvel has to announce to the general public that their movies are coming and get people excited, and West Side Story ain't Marvel.

You do realize that a lot of people in the general population probably don't even know that this movie exists yet? And even for those who do, there are some people who will need to be convinced to see another interpretation aside from the 1961 version.
 
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TravisR

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What?

Of course it will need publicity. All films need publicity.
I think this movie will actually need quite a bit of publicity. An older crowd will likely come out to see a musical but they'll want everyone to see it and they'll need to sell their cast, Spielberg, etc. to get more than just the built in audience.
 
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Jake Lipson

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An older crowd will likely come out to see a musical
If the film is released post-coronavirus, I agree with this. If Disney is stupid enough to put it out too soon, no way in hell.

To me it is the most eagerly awaited American film of the year (and the only one so far).
Just because we are anticipating it does not mean that the general public shares our enthusiasm for, or even awareness of, this project. I expect the promotional campaign to be aggressive, as is usually the case with films Disney believes in. The fact that it has not started yet all but ensures that this will be delayed -- and it should.

It is irrelevant to me when it will finally be released.
Well, if you're interested in seeing it, then it's very relevant to you when that will be. It sounds like you want it to come out at a time when it will be safe to go see it in the theater. Based on the box office results for the films currently in release, most people in the United States at least agree that that time is not now.
 
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Malcolm R

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I think it's going to be a difficult sell to modern audiences. Singing, dancing street gangs and your biggest cast name is Ansel Elgort. I enjoy musicals, but I've never been able to work up much interest for any version of WSS.

Spielberg with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in The Post could only swing about $80 million domestic. I'm not sure this will reach that level, and the budget for this is listed at $100 million.
 

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