Universal Aims to Head Off ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Online Backlash

The musical is facing virulent early reviews, weak tracking and criticism for casting 27-year-old Ben Platt as a high school student

Universal is aiming to head off unexpectedly harsh reviews, anemic box office tracking numbers and an online backlash to its star-studded musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” about the touchy subject of a lonely teenager faking a friendship with a peer who committed suicide.

The studio, the movie’s producers and star Ben Platt were all caught off guard by critics who savaged the film at this month’s Toronto Film Festival for everything from Platt’s real-life age of 27 to the singing itself to the treatment of teenage depression, individuals with knowledge of the film told TheWrap. The film currently holds a 47% score on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, and a 41 score on Metacritic.

Become a member to read more.

Brian Welk

Film Reporter • brian.welk@thewrap.com • Twitter: @brianwelk

Diane Haithman

Senior Entertainment Business Reporter • diane@thewrap.com • @dhaithman