The film adaptation of the hit 2015 musical Dear Evan Hansen failed to charm moviegoers over the weekend, resulting in Shang-Chi‘s inevitable box office takeover.
Stephen Chbosky (of The Perks of Being a Wallflower fame) directed the coming-of-age film, which many analysts believed would make around $10 million on opening weekend. With just a $28 million budget, Dear Evan Hansen raked in a dismal $7.5 million at the U.S. box office — a stark difference from Shang-Chi‘s successful $13.3 million weekend run.
With a domestic gross of $196.5 million, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has now become the highest-grossing flick of the pandemic era in North America.
The results of Dear Evan Hansen‘s box office debut may come as a surprise, considering the musical’s success on the Broadway stage five years prior. The film saw 27-year-old Ben Platt reprise his role as the titular character, a lonely high school outcast made to navigate through the difficulties of mental illness and his innate struggle to connect with others.
Broadway audiences and critics praised the musical for its heartfelt story and the open dialogue it allowed for suicide and mental illness. The musical numbers and performances by the Evan Hansen cast also struck a chord, earning the show nine Tony Award nominations and six wins.
Yet, the film suffered generally poor reviews from critics, earning a score of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. The New York Times called it “treacly and manipulative,” stating that it turns “villain into victim” and “grief into an exploitable vulnerability.”
Screen Rant also said that the movie had “nothing interesting or deep to say about mental health.” Others are comparing the film to the disastrous Cats adaptation, which saw a $6.5 million debut on a $100 million budget.
It’s clear to see that the musical’s magic did not translate on the big screen.
If it’s any consolation, audiences seemed to feel for the movie more than the critics, giving the film an A- CinemaScore.
Other movies that hit big last weekend include Disney’s Free Guy, the horror movie Candyman, and Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho.
Art Daniella Sison