Crazy Rich Asians, the first major Hollywood film in 25 years since The Joy Luck Club to feature a predominately Asian cast, exceeded expectations this weekend at the box office.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. The story follows the events of an Asian-American woman meeting her boyfriend’s wealthy family in Singapore. Constance Wu and Henry Golding star in the film, with direction by Jon M. Chu.
The film had modest expectations going into the weekend. Industry insiders expected “at least $18 million over its first five days, but no one expected a launch of over $30 million” according to Fox News. The film, which cost $30 million to make, has already broken even in just its first five days of release.
Warner Bros. estimates that the film earned $25.2 million over the weekend and $34 million since its opening Wednesday, says Fox News.
The film was strategically released on Wednesday due to the preceding novel’s success.
“We knew we’d get avids who read the book and a large Asian following,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. domestic distribution president, reported by Fox News. “We figured OK, we get good reviews, open on Wednesday, word of mouth will spread and really propel the movie into the weekend, and that’s exactly what happened.”
The film resonated with many Asian-Americans who feel a film featuring an all Asian cast has been long overdue in the 25 years since The Joy Luck Club. Crazy Rich Asians, however, also received negative feedback that the film was “Asian enough,” according to the New York Times.
Though it certainly has been an important cultural moment event for the Asian diaspora, the film is not at the top of the box office with an Asian audience alone. “It’s not just the Asians who are coming. It’s people of all colors from all walks of life who are enjoying this cinematic experience,” Henry Golding, the male star said to the Associated Press. “It’s a real shift in Hollywood.”
Similar to the February release of Black Panther, Marvel’s first predominantly black superhero film earlier this year, films of a high cultural impact have seen a high payoff in the box office due, in large part, to the increased demand for films with richer diversity. The call for increased diversity in Hollywood movies has been on the rise in recent years with the advent of the #OscarsSoWhite. Hollywood has heard the demand and is beginning to deliver.
According to comScore, Crazy Rich Asians reached No. 1 domestically and No. 4 for international box office. Below are the domestic results comScore released for the weekend box office, with Mission Impossible and Alpha tied for fourth.
1. Crazy Rich Asians — $25.2M
2. The Meg — $21.1M
3. Mile 22 — $13.6M
T4. Alpha — $10.5M
T4. Mission: Impossible – Fallout — $10.5M
6. Disney’s Christopher Robin — $8.9M
7. BlacKkKlansman — $7.0M
8. Slender Man — $5.0M
9. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation — $3.7M
10. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again — $3.4M
11. The Equalizer 2 — $2.8M
12. The Spy Who Dumped Me — $2.6M