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Dear Evan Hansen’s box office performance ‘almost as bad as Cats’ after being savaged by critics

Many critics took issue with a 28-year-old Ben Platt starring as a teenage high-school student

Roisin O'Connor
Sunday 26 September 2021 11:08
Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen, the film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, is being pummelled at the box office after negative reviews from critics.

According to Deadline, the film opened on $3.6m (£2.6m) on Friday 24 September at the US box office and is now close to a weekend total of $7.2m (£5.3m).

The publication notes that this is not far away from the devastating box-office result for Cats, another Broadway film adaptation from Universal, which opened to a disastrous $6.5m (£5m) over the Christmas holidays.

In Dear Evan Hansen, Ben Platt reprises his role as high school student Evan, who feels anxious and isolated until a letter he wrote for a writing exercise falls into the hands of a grieving couple, whose son took his own life.

The decision to cast the 28-year-old Platt in the role of a 17-year-old caused some controversy. Platt defended the move by pointing out that the film “probably wouldn’t get made” if he had not been involved.

Reviews of the film have been largely negative. TheNew York Times called it “treacly and manipulative”, accusing it of turning “villain into victim and grief into an exploitative vulnerability”.

Screen Rant said the movie “lacks awareness about its central character” and has “nothing interesting or deep to say about mental health”.

Other reviews branded it “baffling”, “cringeworthy” and “painful”, with many noting the glaring issue of Platt’s age.

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