In the Heights Pulls Its West Side Story Muscle
The creator of “Hamilton” and the director of “Crazy Rich Asians” invite you to the event of the summer, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big… “In the Heights.”
Lights up on Washington Heights…The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.
“In the Heights” fuses Lin-Manuel Miranda’s kinetic music and lyrics with director Jon M. Chu’s lively and authentic eye for storytelling to capture a world very much of its place, but universal in its experience.
Check out the trailer below:
Two things about this right off the bat:
Maybe they should have called this Dancing Puerto Ricans in New York City, that would have been more on the nose, but it might have alienated the Midwest audience.
Musicals continue to be the number one most annoying genre of film ever created.
Brace For Impact
Watching the trailer, it’s clear that this film will have a mixture of a heartwarming story, lecturing about social justice in barrio neighborhoods, and plenty of people singing and dancing for no other obvious reason than they were directed to do so.
Heartwarming and uplifting stories about downtrodden minority groups in the evil that is capitalist America are fine, and apparently there’s an audience somewhere for films with this subtext lurking below the surface, just like there is for more overt clap-trap like Queen and Slim.
Will This Have Legs At the Box Office, Though?
Box office predictions on films of this type are always a miss: too low and there’s an implicit underestimation of the ability of marketing to work; too high and there’s an implicit overestimation of marketing to work.
Opening in late June, ahead of the summer spectacle films and with no clear MCU challenger for eyeballs, this will probably do well with the Cats crowd.
In The Heights dances into theaters on June 26, 2020.