Where will ‘West Side Story’ be streaming?

west side story

West Side Story is undoubtedly one of the biggest films of 2021. The romantic musical drama is based on the popular and long-running stage musical from 1957 that was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1961. The new film features direction by legendary blockbuster creator Steven Spielberg and an all-star cast including Ansel Elgort as Tony, Rachel Zegler as María, and Ariana DeBose as Anita. 

The film’s recent release has many viewers wondering when the musical epic will hit streaming, with many presuming that, because 20th Century Studios is distributing the film, it will soon land on Disney Plus. Unfortunately, it might not be that simple. 

What is West Side Story about?

West Side Story is set in San Juan Hill, New York, in 1957. A massive gang war between the Puerto Rican Sharks and the white Jets dominates the area, spreading chaos. When the gangs learn that the area will be demolished to make way for the new Lincoln Center, they plan a brawl to settle the score once and for all.

The leader of the Jets approaches his friend Tony for help, but Tony refuses, as he is out on parole and wants to start a new life free from danger and crime. At the same time, María, the sister of the Shark’s leader Bernardo, dreams of independence and a fresh start in America.

When Tony and Maria see each other at a local dance, they fall in love. However, this love causes the tensions between their respective factions to escalate, and this tension soon spills over into chaos. 

Where can you stream West Side Story?

Currently, West Side Story is exclusive to cinemas. Earlier this year, Disney announced that all of its theatrical releases would be exclusive to theaters for a minimum of 45 days. This means we won’t be seeing West Side Story on Disney Plus until at least January 2022.

It should be noted that Disney has extended the theatrical exclusivity period for several titles, including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which remained exclusive to theaters for 70 days, as well as Eternals, which was exclusive for 68 days. On the other hand, Disney has announced that Encanto will land on Disney Plus on Christmas Eve, a month after it arrived in theaters, so we won’t know for sure until Disney makes an official announcement.

However, the streaming rights to the film are a slightly complex matter, so West Side Story may not be released like previous pandemic-era Disney titles.

Disney acquired the rights to West Side Story when it acquired 20th Century Fox, but Fox already had a contract with WarnerMedia. Under this contract, WarnerMedia would get to show 20th Century Fox’s movies on their platform HBO Max after they finish their theatrical run, in what is referred to as a pay-one window deal.

Disney and Warner recently amended this contract. Under the new terms, Disney Plus and HBO Max could share streaming rights, allowing both to show the film. However, this only applies to certain movies, and currently, the only film known to fall under this revised contract is Ron’s Gone Wrong, which launches on both Disney Plus and HBO Max on Dec. 15. 

However, Disney may opt to follow the original contract and allow HBO Max to stream West Side Story exclusively for a time before it hits Disney Plus later. Unfortunately, until one of the companies makes an announcement, we can’t know for sure.