Skip to main content

How to watch ‘West Side Story’

Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.
(Image credit: YouTube // 20th Century)

One of the most anticipated movie releases of 2021 is here, as Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story gets its official release on Friday. Dec. 10. Coming 50 years after the original Best Picture-winning adaptation of the Broadway show that still remains one of the best movie musicals of all time, here’s how to watch West Side Story tonight, tonight.

First, a quick refresher of the story. West Side Story is a reimagining of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, where the warring families are swapped out for two rival gangs, the white Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks, on the streets of 1950s New York City. Caught in the middle of these tensions are two young lovers, Tony and Maria.

Starring in West Side Story are Ansel Elgort as Tony and newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria, with Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Riff, Brian d’Arcy James, Corey Stoll and Rita Moreno, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1961’s West Side Story and is returning in a brand new role.

If you’re raring to go see West Side Story, here’s what you need to know to watch it.

How to watch ‘West Side Story’

West Side Story is the kind of big, vibrant musical that was made to be seen on the big screen, so unsurprisingly the movie will be playing in theaters when it is initially released on Dec. 10 in the U.S. and the U.K.

Being released in thousands of theaters, most audiences should have easy access to the movie. Simply search movie ticket sites like Fandango or check your local theater’s own website to see where and when it is playing. You can then either buy a ticket in advance online or purchase one when you arrive at the theater.

As bigger movies like West Side Story are reverting back to exclusive theatrical runs, you may be wondering if there are ways to make the trip more affordable. If so, definitely check out movie theater subscription deals, which offer discounted prices, flat monthly fees and other promotions to movie lovers.

For those heading out to the theater to see West Side Story, please be aware of your local mask/vaccine guidelines to ensure that you and everyone else has a safe and enjoyable theatergoing experience.

Is ‘West Side Story’ streaming?

If you were hoping to watch West Side Story from home, you’re going to have to wait a bit. The movie is getting an exclusive theatrical run before it makes its way to any digital/streaming services.

West Side Story will likely have at least a 45-day run in theaters before becoming available digitally, which should end sometime in mid to late January. That’s the when, as far as the where, being a 20th Century Studios production (which is owned by Disney), when West Side Story is available for streaming it will likely be on either Disney Plus or Hulu, though to be determined.

However, even though you can’t watch Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story on streaming yet, the 1961 original is currently available to stream on HBO Max or to buy/rent on multiple platforms. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.