Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway musical, which came before the indie project known as Hamilton, is headed to the big screen—as well as your living room. Variety reports that In the Heights will be released on June 18, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max. Starring Anthony Ramos (A Star Is Born, Hamilton), the story of a bodega owner living in New York’s Washington Heights was set to hit theaters in June 2020. However, widespread movie theater closures due to COVID-19 have delayed the release by a year and led to its simultaneous streaming debut. While we wait, here’s what we know about the highly-anticipated musical adaptation so far.
When will it be released?
Warner Bros. was set to release In the Heights on June 26, 2020, following a bidding war over the film’s rights. The Weinstein Co. was originally set to distribute the film, but the rights reverted to Miranda following sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the company’s subsequent bankruptcy in 2018. But on March 24, Variety reported that the film had been pulled from the Warner Bros. release schedule in light the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, the outlet reports that In the Heights will hit theaters nearly a year later—June 18, 2021. It will also be available exclusively on HBO Max for a month, just like other Warner Bros. releases including Dune and Wonder Woman 1984.
Miranda hinted at the delay while appearing on a charity livestream of The Rosie O’Donnell Show in support of The Actor’s Fund, he said, “There’s a lot that remains to be done on that movie. We were finishing the score and the mixing and just getting the music exactly right.” He added, “I’m really hopeful that that’s something we all get to watch in the theaters together—when it’s time, and no sooner, to go out.”
What is In the Heights about?
Based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Broadway musical, the film follows Usnavi (Ramos), a bodega owner with big dreams and a difficult decision to make regarding his store in Washington Heights. When his grandmother passes away, he inherits a sum of money, which he contemplates using to retire to the Dominican Republic. Miranda originated the role in the stage production, which won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
“It’s a story of a block that was disappearing,” Usnavi tells a group of neighborhood children.“In the barrio of Washington Heights, the streets were made of music.” Taking place over three days in the neighborhood, the story also explores immigration, with a reference to Dreamers in the trailer.
At a special screening of the trailer, director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, Step Up 2: The Streets) described the film as “a beautiful story about change,” per Variety. “You can’t change the world if they don’t want to change, but never underestimate the power of planting a seed. I believe that this movie is an amazingly beautiful seed that can change a lot of minds.”
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Who is involved in the movie?
Joining Ramos and Miranda (who will play Piraguero, the owner of a piragua stand in the neighborhood), is an ensemble cast including Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Jimmy Smits, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Stephanie Beatriz, and Dascha Polanco. Quiara Alegria Hudes and Marc Klein wrote the screenplay.
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