At the tail-end of 2017, the Hugh Jackman-starring musical, The Greatest Showman hit cinemas. Released at a time where two titanic performers (Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), a couple of well-known properties (Paddington 2 and Murder on the Orient Express), and a bunch of Oscar-nominated movies (Three Billboards, The Shape of Water, etc), were all grabbing the headlines, The Greatest Showman had a bit of an up-hill battle to get noticed.
It also didn’t help that at the time of its release, reviews for The Greatest Showman were mixed with every good review being battered by less than positive reviews. The Telegraph awarded The Greatest Showman two stars (out of five), Empire awarded it a middle-of-the road three stars (out of five) and so on.
However, despite box office challenges and a few less-than-impressive reviews from some publications, The Greatest Showman has proved to be the little engine that could. Over the past couple of months the movie has continued to chug away at multiplexes, picking up strong word of mouth, a dedicated following and a healthy box office.
According to Box Office Mojo, at present, The Greatest Showman has raked in $364,841,208 at the worldwide box office. This equates to $162,656,443 in the US and $202,184,765 internationally.
When compared to the likes of Star Wars, Jumanji, Black Panther and various other tentpole releases, this sum might not seem all that impressive. But don’t for one moment think that it’s not – because it is!
First and foremost, The Greatest Showman has benefitted from being a slow burner, so while many movies reach a huge box office take in a couple of weeks, they usually fizzle out pretty quickly. The Greatest Showman has instead proved to be a steady earner, continuing to pull audiences in when other films fall out of the headlines.
Secondly, The Greatest Showman has easily covered its budget of $84 million dollars – taking approximately double this figure in the US alone. For a movie to be considered ‘a hit’ it needs to take at least the cost of its budget (and then some) in its country of origin to cover the budget and promotional costs. The Greatest Showman has done this.
Thirdly, in the US, The Greatest Showman is financially the fourth highest grossing live-action musical of all-time, sitting behind Beauty and the Beast (2017), Grease (1978) and Chicago (2002). Yep, it’s taken more in the US than La La Land did during its run and that was a movie which everyone was talking about this time last year.
Now, chuck in the fact that the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman has become a global success, topping the US, Australia and the UK (where it’s spent 8 out of 10 weeks as the UK Number 1 album) and its clear to see that people are continuing to be drawn to it. Did I also mention that the track ‘This is Me’ has won a Golden Globe Award? No? Oh, well it has.
I watched The Greatest Showman on New Year’s Eve evening – a fairly quiet time for people to be at the cinema – and there was an ample, but not huge audience. Last weekend, I went to see the movie again and the audience was pretty much the same – ample, just not huge.
This might not sound that great, but usually when I see a movie two months apart, the audience numbers are vastly different, with huge numbers during the opening weekend and next to no-one watching during the latter period of its run. This more even audience kind of proved to me what I already knew, people are still discovering The Greatest Showman – and from the response the movie is getting in cinemas, most seem to be really enjoying it.
So, has The Greatest Showman won you over yet?