‘In the Heights’: Are people sick of Lin-Manuel Miranda now?
In the Heights, the long awaited film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical has officially hit both theatres & streaming. Unfortunately, the first weekend at the box office for the musical did not go well. In the Heights debuted to a disappointing $11.4 million USD on its opening weekend. This is about ten million below early estimates, which had the Jon. M Chu directed-movie at $20 million USD.
Why did In the Heights have such a failure on an opening weekend? Yes, there was a simultaneous premiere on HBO Max, but even that couldn’t have counted for the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical movie dropping so low from estimates. So . . . is it because of Lin-Manuel Miranda that the musical didn’t reach its heights? Why do people seem so sick of Lin-Manuel Miranda now?
Just five short years ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda was on top of the world. In 2016, Hamilton had taken over the world. Everyone loved it. Miranda could have done no wrong in our eyes. He became the toast of Hollywood seemingly overnight. Remember when he did that episode of Drunk History? He’s involved with multiple Disney movies? He has an acting role in HBO’s His Dark Materials?
Things have slowed since then. Miranda has taken a dive from Millennial cool to Gen Z cringe. With the release of Hamilton on Disney+ last year, people have been more critical of Miranda’s best-known work. Well, the audience in 2020 was different than in 2016. The brutal murder of George Floyd was on everyone’s minds, and people were wondering if the “woke” nature of the musical was ever that “woke” to begin with.
In a 2016 interview with Slate, historian Lyra Monteiro said, “My argument is basically that the play does a lot of this thing that we call ‘Founders Chic’ as a representational strategy. This is a way that writers of popular history (and some academic historians) represent the founders as relatable, cool guys. Founders Chic tends to really downplay the involvement of the Founding Fathers in slavery, and this play does that 100 percent.”
Many celebrities, especially those that seem universally loved, go through cycles within popular consciousness. They have a period of being the coolest thing ever. Then it seems like everyone & their mother hates them. Then they reach an equilibrium. Miranda, who has enjoyed this popularity for several years, is in the midst of that sad sort of downswing online.
Even if you think he’s a terrible singer or hate his work, well, do people really have to be so mean about it? It’s hard to remember that celebrities are people, and it can get to them. Sebastian Stan said something similar in a roundtable on Variety recently. It can mentally exhausting. But, well, is the hate really what brought In the Heights down? I mean, Hamilton tickets are still the hottest thing out.
So what brought the drop in In the Heights?
It’s hard to say. Though HBO Max has not released how many people streamed the movie musical this weekend. The $11.4 million USD is from ticket sales at the theatres, which have only recently started to get back to normal. Maybe people overestimated how eager & willing people were to head back to theatres as we slowly go back to normal after COVID.
Or it could be that Lin-Manuel Miranda is a symbol of cringe. Or it could be that musical movies just aren’t the “in” thing at the moment. Take your pick here really. It could be any reason.
What do you think In the Heights had such a low box office opening this weekend? Do you think Lin-Manuel Miranda has become cringe culture? Let us know in the comments down below!