In yet another reminder that diversity pays off at the box office, Jon M. Chu’s groundbreaking romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians led the weekend nuptials with a three-day North American debut of $26.5 million and a five-day bow of $35.3 million, according to final weekend numbers.
That’s up from Sunday’s estimate of $25.2 million and $34 million, respectively.
The film — the first Hollywood studio pic to feature an all-Westernized Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago — easily avoided the comedy curse that has gripped the box office in recent years. The Warner Bros. movie, based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel, scored the top opening for a rom-com in three years and the top start of the year so far for any comedy.
Nearly 40 percent of the audience was Asian, an unprecedented showing for a Hollywood studio release. The pic, costing a modest $30 million to make, follows upon the success of such titles as Black Panther, Girls Trip and Get Out in terms of playing to an ethnically diverse audience. Caucasians made up 41 percent of ticket buyers, followed by Asians (38 percent), Hispanics (11 percent), African-Americans (6 percent) and other (4 percent), according to Warners and comScore.
Females turned out in force (68 percent), while 64 percent of the audience was over the age of 25.
“This is a culturally significant movie, period,” says Warners distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. “It shows all of us that we need to look outside the box.”
Crazy Rich Asians — buoyed by glowing reviews and an A CinemaScore — 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 from one of the richest families in Asia. 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. The last romantic comedy to debut to $20 million or more was in July 2015, when Amy Schumer’s raunchy, R-rated Trainwreck posted a three-day debut of $30.1 million. The next best showing was 2016’s How to Be Single ($17.9 million), followed by Overboard earlier this year ($14.7 million).
In terms of comedies overall, last summer’s African-American led Girls Trip has been among the few to prosper after posting a three-day bow of $33.2 million.
For Warners, the weekend was a double win, between Crazy Rich Asians and holdover shark pic The Meg, which placed No. 2 in its second weekend with $21.2 million for a 10-day domestic total of $83.8 million. Thanks in large measure to Crazy Rich Asians and The Meg, revenue at the North American box office was up more than 30 percent over the same weekend last year, while August is up more than 17 percent so far.
Overseas, The Meg stayed No. 1 with $67 million for a foreign tally of $230.4 million and $314.2 million globally. The movie, co-financed by China’s Gravity Pictures, still has a ways to go before ending up in the black, considering its budget of at least $150 million (Warners puts the net budget at $130 million). The Meg’s worldwide haul includes $117.2 million from China.
Crazy Rich Asians is rolling out slowly overseas. It launched in six smaller markets over the weekend, earning $730,000.
The frame’s two other new offerings, STX Entertainment ‘s Mile 22, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, and Studio 8’s prehistoric adventure-drama Alpha, directed by Albert Hughes and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, weren’t as lucky.
Coming in third, Mile 22 opened behind expectations with $13.6 million from 3,520 theaters after garnering poor reviews and a B- CinemaScore. Overseas, the male-fueled film opened to $585,000 from its first six markets.
The action-thriller, marking the fourth film that Berg and Wahlberg have made together, 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, earned an estimated $10.5 million from 2,719 locations to pace No. 5. Sony is distributing the film.
Set 20,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, the epic centers on a young man who is injured and left for dead by his tribe while on a hunt. The film’s current Rotten Tomatoes score is 82 percent, while audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore.
Among holdovers, Paramount and Skydance’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout stayed high up on the chart in its fourth weekend as it sped past the $500 million mark globally. Domestically, it landed at No. 4 with $10.5 million for a cume of $180.8 million. Offshore, it took in another $20.5 million for a foreign total of $320.7 million and $501.4 million worldwide.
In its second weekend, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman took in solid $7 million from 1,788 theaters for a 10-day domestic tally of $23 million, already Lee’s best showing since Inside Man ($88.5 million) a dozen years ago. The Focus Features film was No. 7.
Among more limited offerings, disgraced actor Kevin Spacey’s Billionaire Boys Club did abysmal business in eight theaters after launching first on VOD last month. Those with access to grosses show the crime-drama opening to an abysmal $618 from 11 theaters (several locations only reported grosses for Sunday) after posting an opening-day gross of $126.
Billionaire Boys Club, opening with no fanfare or press, also stars Ansel Elgort and Taron Egerton.
At the specialty box office, Sony Pictures Classics’ The Wife, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, posted the top location average of the weekend with $27,784 after launching in four locations.
The Orchard’s We the Animals, a documentary about a mixed-race family in upstate New York, followed with a location average of $22,087 from three theaters.
Aug. 19, 9 a.m. Updated with revised demos.
Aug. 20, 6 a.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.
Weekend Box Office 8/19/18
|1. Crazy Rich Asians||$26.5M||$35.3M||3,384||1|
|2. The Meg||$21.2M||$83.8M||4,118||2|
|3. Mile 22||$13.7M||$13.7M||3,520||1|
|4. Mission: Impossible — Fallout||$10.8M||$181.0M||3,482||4|
|6. Christopher Robin||$8.9M||$66.9M||3,602||3|
|8. Slender Man||$4.8M||$20.6M||2,358||2|
|9. Hotel Transylvania 3||$3.8M||$154.0M||2,187||6|
|10. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again||$3.4M||$111.2M||2,270||5|