Farewell, The: Lulu Wang’s Serio-Comedy Starring Awkwafina

Officially, A24’s The Farewell now holds the best per-screen-average of 2019.

 

 

The movie generated rave reviews after its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.  A24 acquired worldwide distribution rights for $7 million, over competition from Netflix, Amazon Studios, and Fox Searchlight.

In the semi-autopbiographical film, the lead character, a Chinese-American girl named Billi, travels to China to say goodbye to her family’s dying matriarch. However, the grandmother doesn’t know she has terminal cancer.

The Farewell captures both complex and complicated multi-generational Chinese-American family dynamics in a poignant film about the impact of traditionalism on the present and the future of its young characters.

Narratively, the movie belongs to the sub-genre of family reunion films, but it offers a fresh angle and heartfelt approach in its concern with a particular immigrant experience, even if the treatment is a tad too sentimental.

The serio-comedy, directed by Lulu Wang and starring Awkwafina, generated $351,330 when it opened in four venues: AMC Lincoln Square and the Angelika in New York and ArcLight Cinemas and The Landmark in Los Angeles.

Despite a power outage in New York City Saturday night that caused AMC Lincoln Square to temporarily close, “The Farewell” averaged a huge $87,833 from each location,

Prior to “The Farewell,” the biggest screen average of 2019 was “Avengers: Endgame” with $76,601 per location. However, the Disney-Marvel blockbuster got its start in slightly more venues, kicking off in a record 4,662 North American theaters.

A24 plans to expand The Farewell to more theaters across the country before launching it nationwide on August 2.

With its shrewd marketing of a timely indie that represents counter-programming this summer, A24 may have a winner of the scale of Lady Bird.