Unprecedented ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ made almost as much money in its second weekend

NEW YORK – The opening weekend for “Crazy Rich Asians” was historic. Its second weekend was even more impressive.

The romantic comedy sensation slid just 6 percent from its chart-topping debut to again lead the box office with $25 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. Almost as many people turned out over the weekend for “Crazy Rich Asians” as they did the weekend before – an unheard-of hold for a non-holiday release. Drops of close to 50 percent are common for wide releases.

But propelled by enthusiastic reviews and an eagerness for a major Hollywood film led by Asian stars, “Crazy Rich Asians” is showing almost unprecedented legs. After opening last weekend with $35.3 million from Wednesday to Sunday and $26.5 million for the weekend, the release – the first Hollywood studio movie in 25 years with an all-Asian cast – already has grossed $76.8 million.

The adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel, starring Constance Wu and Henry Golding, was helped by weak competition. The critically slammed R-rated puppet caper “The Happytime Murders” made its debut in third place with $10.1 million, a career-low wide release for star Melissa McCarthy. The robot-dog fantasy “A.X.L.” flopped with $2.9 million.

But the talk of the weekend was the sustained success of “Crazy Rich Asians,” which earned about the same from one Saturday to the next.

“I’ve been telling my team that Bigfoot sightings are more common than zero percent Saturday drops,” says Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros.

Goldstein notes that the movie’s audience was 44 percent Asian-American for opening weekend; that percentage fell to 27 percent in the second weekend, while Caucasian and Hispanic ticket buyers grew. “The audience is broadening,” he says.

The remarkable hold left many in Hollywood searching for comparisons. While such slim drops or second-week increases regularly happen on holiday weekends, the last time something similar happened was “The Sixth Sense” (minus 3.4 percent in August 1999) or “The Fugitive” (minus 5.6 percent in August 1993).

“There’s no greater indicator of the enthusiasm of an audience than a minimal drop in a second weekend,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “This isn’t the product of opening-weekend hype. This is the product of a great movie resonating very strongly with all audiences. The movie has become a cultural phenomenon.”

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