The Greatest Showman is The Greatest

Emily Hascall, Staff Writer

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You’re sitting in a dimly lit tent with the sound of laughter twinkling through the air.  Excitement is buzzing throughout the crowd as the anticipation of what’s to come builds until– rings of fire! Bearded ladies pouring out opera, trapeze artists twisting down from the ceiling, elephants, tigers, magicians, and clowns! It’s a night of entering the world of your dreams with anomalies, weirdos, outcasts performing before your very eyes. This is the beautiful imagery captured within the latest 20th Century Fox movie, The Greatest Showman.

Directed by Michael Gracey and starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya and more, the film depicts the life of orphaned P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) as he tries to pursue a career as a circus ringleader. Although originally a disrespected character, the movie portrays the consequences of Barnum’s hard work and perseverance in spite of social criticism.

During the opening weekend of December 20th, 2017, The Greatest Showman only received 8.8 million dollars in ticket sales. This was considerably lower then hoped for in a film that cost 84,000,000 dollars to produce. Critic reviews shed light on the surprising small amount of revenue stating that although the movie was based off the true story of P.T. Barnum’s creation of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, the film lacked a sense of reality and deeper meaning.  The New York Times said,The Greatest Showman, a montage sequence that occasionally turns into a movie musical, steers clear of any contemporary resonance and ignores meaty themes.”

Despite the negative reviews from critics, audience members seemed to love the movie. For example, while Rotten Tomatoes displays professional critic reviews averaged only 55 percent, the audience score was 88 percent.  Unlike the critics, reviewers seemed to love the film’s positive messages about inclusion and diversity– truly prevalent issues in modern society today.  Fox Five News commented, “It speaks directly to those who have been hurt and discriminated against because of the color of their skin, their weight, their looks, the way they speak, their faith or their sexual orientation.” The theme of inclusion drew in unexpected viewers.  Clairemont High School senior Amanda Sabin stated, “ The musical is on most people’s Top Ten list because of that specific message of inclusivity mixed into their songs.”

Consequently, after the low ticket sales of opening weekend, the following weekend had ticket sales doubling. Such a progression continued each week causing The Greatest Showman  to make a worldwide total of over 414 million dollars in revenue. This makes the film the fifth highest grossing live-action musical of all time!

However, the movie’s prosperity didn’t stop at simply ticket sales.  During the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the film was nominated for Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy, Best Actor- Musical or Comedy and won Best Original Song for the hit single, “This is Me”, sung by Keala Settle. A nomination for Best Original song also occured at the 90th Academy Awards. This caused The Greatest Showman soundtrack album to become gold and hit number one on the Billboard chart.

The success of The Greatest Showman, although originally low, ended up highly exceeding all expectations. For those looking for Golden Globe winning musical performances, acting from some of the world’s most highly-praised actors, and a story-line that touches on how excluding society can become, this movie is a must-watch. Just don’t be a critic.

 

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