Crazy Rich Asians Is Pretty Much the Only Movie People Are Buying Tickets For — Or Talking About
271,000 tweets & $34,000,000 worth of tickets...but it's just the beginning
If you asked me a year ago how the world would react to a Crazy Rich Asians movie, I would have bet you all the coin in my bank account on its success. Not because it’s based on an international bestselling trilogy with a cult-like fan following, or because it locked in one of the most visually appealing casts of all time. (For evidence, please reference our September cover.) Mostly, my confidence in this film came from our online story “Everything We Know About the Crazy Rich Asians Movie So Far,” and the fact that it’s one of fashionmagazine.com’s most popular pieces of all time. Which, in case you’re wondering, pretty much puts it in ranks with “Kylie Cosmetic Lip Kit Dupes” and “A Complete Timeline of Jelena.” Yes, over twelve months before its release this all-Asian rom-com had the same viral power as Kylie Jenner, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. That’s some Crazy Internet Influence.
All of this to say: the box office success of Crazy Rich Asians doesn’t really come as a shock. In case you haven’t already heard yet, the film brought an estimated $34 million USD opening weekend, making it the number one movie in Canada and the United States. And after people bought their theatre ticket, they turned to social media to continue the conversation. According to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker, Crazy Rich Asians prompted 271,000 social media posts this weekend alone, meaning it did 684% better than the the second most popular film of the weekend on Twitter, Netflix’s high-school rom-com To All the Boys I loved Before.
The top tweet of the weekend came from journalist Kimberly Yam, who garnered more than 260K engagements.
You’re 25 years old.
You see a movie with an all-asian cast at a screening and for some reason you’re crying and you can’t stop. You’ve never seen a cast like this in Hollywood. Everyone is beautiful.
You’re so happy you’re Chinese. #CrazyRichAsians #RepresentationMatters
— Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018
Two celebrities who checked in on social media with their thoughts on the film also made the list of top social posts. Noted famous people Justin Bieber and Chris Pratt each shared tweets that brought in over 80K engagements a piece.
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 17, 2018
Wow. Theatre was packed for #crazyrichasians Didn’t know what to expect. But it blew my socks off. Holy crap. What an awesome movie!! Haven’t seen a movie that good in a long, long time.
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) August 19, 2018
Actress Nia Vardolos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding tweeted: “To all who took a chance and saw my first film about my Greek family, let’s do that today for Crazy Rich Asians.”
To all who took a chance and saw my first film about my Greek family, let’s do that today for Crazy Rich Asians. Box office results (like recently Black Panther’s) show Hollywood we want diversity onscreen. Let’s buy some tickets!! 🎥 🍿 💰
— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) August 17, 2018
2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the famously the all-time highest-grossing romantic comedy at the box office, and Crazy Rich Asians’ rockstar debut is a big win for their shared genre. A blockbuster romcom hasn’t hit the $20 million opening weekend mark since 2015’s Amy Schumer-led Trainwreck, which brought in around $31 million. Crazy Rich Asians is evidence that there’s still an appetite for funny, somewhat predictable Cinderella-type stories with ridiculously good-looking leads—and that we want to watch them on the big-screen, not just in bed on our laptops. (No shade Netflix, love what you guys are doing!)
And then there’s the topic of representation. In the same vein as this year’s Wonder Woman and Black Panther, the stakes were high with Crazy Rich Asians: the film carries the burden of proving to Hollywood studios that audiences will spend their money to see Asian-led movies. (And, in the same vein as those very very successful superhero movies mentioned above, audiences are showing up and handing over their hard-earned cash to see Crazy Rich Asians.)
This burden, albeit unfair, is something that Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is embracing: “We can sugarcoat it all we want, but the moment you bring up an Asian-led movie, there’s one example to point to, and that’ll be us,” he told the Hollywood Reporter before the film’s release. “To be on the biggest stage with the biggest stakes, that’s what we asked for.”
The startling lack of Asian representation in Hollywood is something that Constance Wu, star of Crazy Rich Asians and of our September cover, is no doubt aware of. And it’s something that she isn’t shy about talking about, or fighting for: “I have a pretty good capacity to talk about it in such a way that it’s as clear and insightful as it can be in the moment,” she says. “I actually think it’s kind of a privilege and an honour—and an obligation.”