Forget about the dog days of August at the box office this year.
Following the better-than-expected debut of The Meg last weekend, fellow Warner Bros. film Crazy Rich Asians is now tracking to post a five-day debut of $26 million-plus, according to the latest prerelease surveys. That's up from $20 million several weeks ago.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians opens everywhere Wednesday. On Friday, STXfilms and Pete Berg's male-fueled Mile 22, starring Mark Wahlberg, and Studio 8's prehistoric adventure-drama Alpha, directed by Albert Hughes and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, enter the fray.
Many box-office observers believe that Crazy Rich Asians will outperform tracking and do even more crazy-great business. Based on Kevin Kwan's best-selling 2013 novel of the same name, the modestly budgeted $30 million film is the first Hollywood studio movie since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago to feature an all-Westernized Asian cast. On Aug. 9, Warners hosted paid sneaks in more than 350 theaters across the country to further increase the profile of Crazy Rich Asians.
Chu's rom-com — currently sporting a 94 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and favorable reviews — follows American Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. As Rachel visits Nick's hometown for the first time, she quickly learns that her boyfriend is not only from one of the richest families in Asia, but also is one of its most eligible bachelors, putting a target on her back from jealous socialites as well as Nick's formidable mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh). Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Gemma Chan and Jimmy O. Yang also star.
The past several years have seen many comedies, including rom-coms, wilt at the box office. The last romantic comedy to debut to $20 million or more was in July 2015, when Amy Schumer's raunchy, R-rated Trainwreck opened to $30.1 million. The next best showing in the time since was 2016's How to Be Single ($17.9 million), followed by Overboard earlier this year ($14.7 million).
On Tuesday afternoon, Fandango announced that Crazy Rich Asians is outpacing Universal's Girls Trip (2017) in terms of advance ticket sales. The Malcolm D. Lee pic is one of the few comedies to prosper in recent times after opening to $31.2 million last summer.
According to a Fandango survey, 95 percent of those buying tickets listed the film's cast as a primary reason for wanting to see Crazy Rich Asians.
From STX Entertainment, Mile 22 is tracking to bow in the $17 million-$18 million range. If that proves correct, the action-thriller could find itself in a close race for No. 2 with The Meg, which debuted to $45.4 million.
Mile 22 marks the fourth film Berg and Wahlberg have made together and tells the story of an elite CIA operative and his team who are tasked with escorting a high-value asset who is being targeted by terrorists. John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Ronda Rousey and CL co-star.
Alpha, one of the first films from Jeff Robinov's Studio 8, is tracking to debut in the $7 million range. Sony is releasing the film per its deal with Studio 8. Set 20,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, the story centers on a young man who is injured and left for dead by his tribe while on a hunt. The young tribesman then finds and befriends a wolf, who has been abandoned by his pack, and the two team up to fight for survival. Johannes Haukur Johannesson co-stars.
As of press time, reviews for Mile 22 and Alpha hadn't yet posted.
Aug. 14, 12:50 p.m. Updated with presale information.
Aug. 15, 10:41 a.m. Updated with revised Rotten Tomatoe score.