Two films originally intended to have a theatrical-only release have changed their plans. With box office sales still in decline and films opening to low numbers – Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story remake only opened to $10.5 million in the U.S. – Adrian Lyne‘s erotic thriller Deep Water and the Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy Marry Me have been shifted to streaming.
Originally intended to land in studios in January, Deep Water – set to star Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas – will now be released straight to Hulu in the U.S., with Amazon Prime Video handling the international release. And while Marry Me will still have a theatrical release, it will premiere on NBC’s streaming service Peacock on the same day.
Deep Water will be Lyne’s return to the erotic thriller genre he helped establish as a multiplex staple in the late 80s/early 90s with films such as Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal. His last foray into the genre was 2002’s Unfaithful.
Deep Water takes its story from Patricia Highsmith‘s novel by the same name and revolves around Vic and Melinda Van Allen, who are in a toxic marriage, both unhappy, but unwilling to get a divorce. Out of ideas of how to save their relationship, the couple decides to open the marriage up and begin to see other people.
However, things quickly go south as those that are close to the duo vanish and then wind up dead under mysterious circumstances.
Highsmith’s novel has been adapted by Zach Helm and Sam Levinson, and the film also stars Tracy Letts, Rachel Blanchard, Dash Mihok, and Lil Rel Howery.
Deep Water was originally scheduled for a January 14, 2022 release, but there’s currently no word on whether that will remain the same with the Hulu/Amazon streaming premiere.
Marry Me revolves around pop music sensation Kat Valdez, who is planning to tie the knot to her partner and fellow pop megastar Bastian in front of a giant crowd of adoring fans. But just as the duo is about to take the stage in holy matrimony, Kat discovers that Bastian has been unfaithful to her.
In a moment of utter shock and disbelief, Kat spots a stranger in the audience named Charlie and marries him instead. The film then follows the new mismatched couple as they seek to find out whether or not they can make this spur of the moment decision work.
The film is a retelling of Bobby Crosby‘s graphic novel by the same name, with John Rogers (The Librarians), Tami Sagher (30 Rock), and Harper Dill (The Mick) penning the script. The film will also include original songs by both Lopez and Maluma, who is playing Bastian.
Marry Me will hit cinemas and Peacock on February 11, 2022, and the shift looks to be a direct response to West Side Story‘s dismal U.S. opening. That film carries a $100 million price tag and will likely need to make around $300 million to make a profit, so such a poor opening weekend looks to have sent mini-shockwaves through Hollywood.
There’s still a chance that West Side Story could bounce back, as it’s gotten great reviews and is chasing an older audience that doesn’t traditionally make much an effort to see a film on its opening weekend. Disney have also made a deal with theaters to keep the film on screens through the new year.
Plus, there is recent precedent of a musical with a December release having a poor opening before going on to make plenty of money. 2017’s The Greatest Showman only opened to $8.8 million and was immediately deemed a flop. But good word of mouth and a catchy soundtrack led to incredible ‘legs’ (as the industry says), and it ended up making $436 million worldwide.
But unless that happens with West Side Story, it could be another hammer blow for non-superhero/franchise films at the cinema. Expect other studios with similar mid-budget films to change their plans like Disney and Universal have.