'Crazy Rich Asians' Is Smashing Box Office Expectations & Here's Why That Matters

by Mary Kate McGrath

It's only the first box office weekend, but Crazy Rich Asians is already a rom-com hit. And it could end up being the best-selling romantic comedy in years. The film topped the box office after its opening weekend, and brought in $25.2 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada for Friday through Sunday, according to Entertainment Weekly. The ticket sales mean the movie has the best opening for a rom-com since Trainwreck, which premiered in 2015. Other recent romantic comedies haven't performed as well - Anna Faris' Overboard debuted with $14 million and I Feel Pretty only brought in a total of $16 million, according to Variety.

However, it's only the first weekend, and positive reviews and buzz are both likely to draw even more audiences to Crazy Rich Asians. It's currently the number one movie in the United States, and is on track to become one of the most successful romantic stories on screen in years.

The film follows Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, who travels to Singapore to meet the family of her boyfriend Nick Young, played by Henry Golding. Rachel is shocked to find out that Nick is part of the richest family in Singapore, and that he's considered one of the country's most sought-after bachelors. It's based on the book of the same by Kevin Kwan, and has an all-star cast that also features Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Nico Santos. It was directed by Jon Chu, who posted about the significance of the film's successful opening on Twitter.

In a series of tweets, Chu revealed that the movie performed beyond expectations. He wrote,

They thought we were gonna do 18m maybe 20m over the five days.... but YOU SHOWED UP. On dates, with your families, with your friends, with your enemies... we laughed, we cried, we shared our stories we saw each other. The fact that we had never shared a communal experience of joy, laughter and emotions at the movies like this has been an injustice. But now we have. And there’s no going back. #CrazyRichAsians is the number 1 movie in America. Yes we are. Read that again.

The film is the first major release to have a predominately Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club, which premiered in 1993. Chu turned down an offer from Netflix and opted for a theatrical release, understanding how important a theater experience would be for audiences, according to CNBC. Its success will hopefully point to greater Asian representation in Hollywood, and lead to more inclusive stories appearing on the big screen in the future as well.

In his Twitter thread, Chu wrote about what he hopes the lasting impact of the movie will be. He wrote:

Keep spreading the word. We still have a long run to go but our message to the world has been heard. We have arrived. Now let’s go tell more of our stories! We have a lot more to say. And I don't want to wait another 25 years to see them. This is only the beginning. See you at the theaters tonight to celebrate.

With an official release date on Wednesday, the movie is projected to take in $34 million for it's five-day opening, according to CNN. It's a big moment for romantic comedies, and it's the first time a movie in this genre has topped the box office for an opening weekend in four years. Many romantic stories have found a home on streaming platforms over the past few years, but it's been a while since there was a major hit from this genre in movie theaters.

It was a major weekend for Crazy Rich Asians and romantic comedies, and the film is likely to continue to do well. The film received positive reviews, and it has a rating of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an A on CinemaScore, which means word of mouth should be strong. This movie is only just starting its run in theaters, but early projections suggest it will continue to do crazy well. And that's good news for fans of representation and good rom-coms.