Box Office: Crazy Rich Asians dazzles with US$34 million 5-day opening

LOS ANGELES: Crazy Rich Asians has something to party about.

Warner Bros’ highly anticipated romantic comedy launched above expectations with a five-day tally of US$34 million when it opened in 3,384 locations. 

Author Kwan and cast members Golding and Wu pose at the premiere for "Crazy Rich Asians"

With a three-day weekend total of US$25.3 million, Crazy Rich Asians swam by fellow Warner Bros title The Meg, which earned US$21.5 million in its sophomore frame. The shark thriller has amassed over US$84 million in North America.

Jon M Chu’s acclaimed movie – the first studio film in over 25 years since 1993’s Joy Luck Club to feature a nearly all Asian-American cast – carries a modest US$30 million budget. 

READ: Commentary: Crazy Rich Asians, a single story cannot a complete narrative make

READ: Crazy Rich Asians: The biggest misconceptions about Asians according to the cast

Enthusiasm has been strong for Crazy Rich Asians, which arrives as Hollywood is being pressured to feature greater diversity on screen. It holds a strong 93 per cent certified fresh rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, along with an A CinemaScore.

"Word of mouth is everything," Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros’ head of domestic distribution, said of the film’s better-than-expected launch. 

"This movie is so culturally significant and so unique in that there hasn’t been a cast that’s predominately Asian. This is one of those few projects that a whole studio comes together with lots of passion." 

Based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling book, the movie follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), who accompanies her boyfriend (Henry Golding) to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. 

Upon meeting his parents, she quickly finds out his family is one of the richest (and most judgmental) in Singapore. The cast also includes Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh.

READ  Norwegian jumps to lead of famed Iditarod sled dog race

Crazy Rich Asians is the first romantic comedy in almost three years (since Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck) to open with more than US$20 million. 

In recent years, the genre has struggled at the box office. Recently, Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez’ remake of Overboard debuted with a modest US$14 million. Prior to that, I Feel Pretty – with Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski – bowed with US$16 million.

Another new offering, Mark Wahlberg’s Mile 22 opened below estimates, pulling in US$13.6 million in 3,482 theatres. Mile 22 is the fourth collaboration between Wahlberg and director Peter Berg. 

Cast member Golding poses at the premiere for "Crazy Rich Asians" in Los Angeles

READ: Korean-American star Eric Nam buys out Crazy Rich Asians screening in pursuit of #GoldOpen

READ: Singapore takes over Hollywood as Crazy Rich Asians premieres 

The hope is that the action thriller will spawn a franchise, but that remains to be seen given the film’s estimated budget is between US$30 million and US$50 million.

The final weekend opener, Alpha, debuted with US$10.5 million in 2,719 locations. The film is backed by Studio 8 and distributed by Sony. Though it launched slightly above projections, it will still need to pick up steam during its theatrical run to justify a US$50 million production budget.

Meanwhile, Tom Cruise’s latest mission is still proving to be a profitable one. Mission: Impossible – Fallout tied for fourth place with Alpha, picking up US$10.5 million in its fourth outing, bringing its domestic tally to US$180 million. Overseas, it pocketed another US$20.5 million for an international total of US$320 million.

At the specialty box office, Juliet, Naked made US$60,000 when it opened in four venues. Based on Nick Hornby’s novel, the movie – starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O’Dowd – got rave reviews after it premiered at Sundance.

READ  1 hippopotamus... London Zoo counts its animals in delayed census

The Wife, with Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, and Christian Slater, scored the top screen average of the weekend. It earned US$27,000 per location for a weekend total of US$110,000.

A strong opening for Crazy Rich Asians, along with solid holdover from The Meg propelled popcorn season up 12.4 per cent, according to comScore. Meanwhile, the year-to-date box office is up 8.8 per cent.