With the help of excited Asian-American audiences, Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” has posted the biggest opening for a romantic comedy in three years with a $25 million weekend total and a $34 million five-day opening from 3,384 screens, beating tracker expectations.
With a 92 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and an A on CinemaScore, Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s best-seller has earned acclaim both as a fun rom-com and as a rallying cry for Asian-Americans looking for more representation in media.
While the MPAA reports that Asian audiences account on average for about 6 percent of total domestic grosses last year, they accounted for 40 percent of this film’s opening weekend audience, according to comScore’s PostTrak, a demographic share unheard of for a Hollywood film.
And with a $30 million budget, “Crazy Rich Asians” is on track to be a hit quite similar to Universal’s “Girls Trip,” an African-American comedy made on a similar budget that became a quiet smash hit with black women with a $115 million domestic run. As romantic comedies have struggled since the success of “Trainwreck” in 2015 and fewer mid-budget films top the charts, “Crazy Rich Asians” is another sign that diversity is a way back to profitability for both film categories.
In second place is Warner Bros.’ release from last weekend, “The Meg,” which now appears to be on solid ground with a $21.5 million second weekend and 10-day total of $84 million. Overseas, this Chinese-American co-production stayed strong with $67 million, including $30.5 million in China to bring its total in that country to $117 million. Overall, the Jason Statham giant shark movie has a global total of $314 million.
Combined with holdover numbers from Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” the two WB releases have made the August box office a much better ending to the summer season for movie theaters than last year. This weekend’s total box office revenue is up 36 percent from this same weekend in 2017, while August totals are up 16 percent from last year.
In third is STX’s “Mile 22,” which fell below tracker expectations with a $13.6 million opening from 3,520 after receiving poor reception with a 20 percent RT score and a B- on CinemaScore.
The fourth collaboration by Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg, it’s down 64 percent from the duo’s biggest box office success, “Lone Survivor,” which opened to $37.6 million in 2013. The film’s main competitor, fellow action film “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” made $10.5 million in its fourth weekend for a $180 million total.
Sitting alongside “Mission: Impossible” for fourth place on the charts is Sony’s “Alpha,” which is estimated for a $10.5 million opening from 2,719 screens. While it is above tracker expectations, it is still well-below what this film needed with a reported $50 million budget, even with an 84 percent RT score and B+ on CinemaScore.
Finally, while Focus Features’ “BlacKkKlansman” fell out of the top five this weekend, the film had a strong hold as it expanded to 1,788 screens and earned $7 million in its second weekend. That’s just a 35 percent drop off from the film’s $10.8 million opening and gives it a 10-day total of $23 million.