Dear Evan Hansen Draws Small but Enthusiastic Crowd

Film opens in second place, behind Shang-Chi
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2021 11:50 AM CDT
Dear Evan Hansen Draws Small but Enthusiastic Crowd
This mage released by Universal Pictures shows Ben Platt in a scene from "Dear Evan Hansen."   (Erika Doss/Universal Pictures via AP)

(Newser) Dear Evan Hansen may have been a hit on Broadway, but the filmed adaptation of the Tony-winning show is off to a slow start in movie theaters. The Universal musical that's playing exclusively in theaters grossed an estimated $7.5 million from 3,364 locations, according to studio estimates on Sunday. First place again went to Disney and Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which added $13.3 million in ticket sales in North America, bringing its domestic total to $196.5 million. The superhero pic has topped the charts for four consecutive weekends and this weekend surpassed Black Widow as the highest domestic earner of the pandemic, the AP reports.

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With little in the way of high-profile competition this weekend, Dear Evan Hansen's $7.3 million was enough to land it in second place. While critics were less than impressed, audiences that did turn out this weekend were fans and gave it an A- CinemaScore. Women made up an estimated 62% of the audience, according to exit polls. Directed by Stephen Chbosky and written by Steven Levenson, Dear Evan Hansen is about a high school student with social anxiety disorder. Universal's head of distribution said he thinks the audience scores will "lead to a better-than-normal run at the domestic box office."

The single-digit opening weekend reminded some of Cats, which opened to $6.6 million in December 2019. But Dear Evan Hansen cost significantly less—$28 million vs. $95 million—in addition to the fact that Cats launched to worse reviews in a pre-pandemic environment. Bigger blockbusters are coming to North American theaters starting in October, with the Venom sequel coming out this Friday, the James Bond film No Time to Die following on Oct. 8 and Dune opening on Oct. 22.

(Read more box office stories.)

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