Melissa Barrera ‘Grateful’ for ‘In the Heights’ Box Office Flop

“Imagine if (‘In the Heights’) had been a success and everything had been incredible and it had made a billion dollars at the box office — and then my next film flopped,” Barrera said. “I think it would have been more difficult.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 06: Melissa Barrera attends the Paramount's World Premiere "Scream VI" at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater on March 6, 2023 in New York City.  (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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The success of “Scream VI” proved that the semi-reboot approach the franchise took with last year’s “Scream” has been embraced by fans — and that the series’ young, new cast is here to stay.

The film put rising star Melissa Barrera, who plays Sam Carpenter, in the spotlight. But this is hardly his first major film role. The actress got her coveted opportunity in 2021 when she landed the role of Vanessa in John M. Chu’s film adaptation of A Heights. The film was generally praised as a faithful adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, but only grossed $45 million worldwide on a $55 million budget. The film’s release in June 2021 — when the world was technically starting to reopen after the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines, but most consumers had yet to return to their normal lives — likely set the film up for failure. But Barrera didn’t sleep over the experience.

In a new interview PEOPLEBarrera explained that the film’s performance allowed him to manage his career expectations and explore other roles without having to be a box office hit.

“Imagine if (‘In the Heights’) had been a hit and everything had been incredible and it had made a billion dollars at the box office — and then my next film would have failed,” he said. “I think it would have been harder… I am so grateful that my life was exactly the way it was.

His career satisfaction extends to the “Scream” franchise. Barrera went on to praise the direction in which directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett took his character and expressed appreciation for the opportunity to play a three-dimensional horror character.

“In the fifth (film), they’re thrown into the ring and it’s chaos,” he said. “I’m really happy that we get to know Sam a little more in the sixth movie. I thought, “He’s such an interesting character because there are so many demons in him that can be explored—if the writers and directors want to—and they present a very interesting challenge to me. In the sixth, it is taken in this direction. I am very pleased with this.”

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