One of the most anticipated movies of 2020 just became one of the most anticipated movies of 2021. Following a now familiar pattern, Warner Bros. has found a new release date for its intended summertime blockbuster, In the Heights: It’ll be in summer 2021.
Originally slated for later this year on June 26, Warner Bros. delayed the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony winning musical to what was previously a date unknown. Now we know the new date is June 18, 2021, almost an entire year after its initially planned rollout.
The film, which is directed by Crazy Rich Asians’ John M. Chu—who previously cut his teeth on several of the flashier Step Up sequels—is highly anticipated by Broadway fans, and many who are not, because it’s based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical. Prior to becoming the zeitgeist-defining creator of Hamilton, Miranda wrote the music and lyrics to In the Heights, which he also starred in. Debuting first Off-Broadway before moving onto the Great White Way, the musical made Miranda a star in the theater community and won four Tonys, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. Additionally, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.
The film stars a member of Hamilton’s Original Broadway Cast with Anthony Ramos taking on the role of Usnavi de la Vega, who works in a Washington Heights bodega but is hoping for more out of life. The official synopsis reads:
Residents of a largely Latino Upper Manhattan neighborhood Washington Heights – a bodega owner, a college student, a taxi driver, a beauty salon worker, and an old woman – aspire to better lives as gentrification begins to take hold, and a sweltering summer power blackout brings their personal life crises to a head.
The film was one of several summer 2020 projects Warner Bros. delayed indefinitely last month due to the coronavirus. While the studio moved its likely biggest 2020 tentpole, Wonder Woman 1984, from a June to August release date, fellow WB pictures Scoob! and James Wan’s original horror movie, Malignant, were taken off the calendar entirely.
In an interesting sign of the changing times that we’re seeing WB joining Universal as a studio experimenting in which of their intended wide releases could break the theatrical window, and which they want to keep glued to it.
With its summertime setting and feel-good music, In the Heights clearly would play best during warmer months and WB’s solution was to push it a full 12 months down the line in the hopes of the coronavirus pandemic being a distant memory by then. Conversely, family friendly Scoob! is joining Universal’s Trolls World Tour in the VOD arena. So far the only two major studio efforts to make such a maneuver have been animated family movies not intended to make a billion dollars—like, say, a Frozen or Toy Story sequel.
It’ll be curious to see if WB considers branching beyond animation in the future…