The film is expected to do even worse in China than 'Crazy Rich Asians' did
Earlier this week, the Crazy Rich Asians star made history by becoming the first Asian American actress to win a Golden Globe in the Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy category.
Despite its success in the west and the film being set in China, Lulu Wang‘s drama has failed to generate similar interest among Chinese cinema-goers.
Most recently, a tearjerking promo for the film was released in China, featuring grandparents and grandchildren sharing their secrets.
The film centres on Chinese American woman, Billi (Awkafina), who returns to China to visit her grandmother who is suffering from cancer. Billi clashes with her family who decide to keep her grandmother in the dark about her illness.
Even Wang’s own grandmother only recently learned of her own cancer due to the film being released in China.
As of Wednesday, advance ticket sales for The Farewell amounted to only 51,000 yuan. Presale tickets have been available since 14 November.
Advance ticket sales are a standard industry measure of gauging the audience’s interest in the film. Frozen II had advance ticket sales of 25 million yuan before taking in 75 million yuan on its opening day in China.
Based on The Farewell‘s failure to generate a large number of presales, critics are expecting the film to flop in China.
The film is expected to do even worse in China than Crazy Rich Asians did, which grossed US$236 million worldwide and only 6 million yuan on its Chinese opening weekend.
“Compared to Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell’s brand awareness is much lower. Few cinemas will screen it,” Chinese tech media site 36kr’s report said. Only 1.3% of the of screening slots in Chinese cinemas will show The Farewell on opening day.
Director Wang told SCMP that she did not make the film specifically for an American or Chinese audience.
“I made it for myself, my family and the people who are like me, who have one foot in America and [another] in China,” she said. “The key is not to make movies to appeal to a particular market, but to make something from the heart that makes you laugh, cry and feel human.”
“I don’t know [how the film will perform in China] as I don’t know the marketplace [there] very well. But it played very well at the Shanghai Film Festival [in June]. When I travelled with the movie around the world, a lot of Chinese people came up to me, and they’re in tears as they really like the film. I hope that it does well in China.”
In related news, Wang revealed that her grandmother only recently found out about her own cancer due to The Farewell being released in China.