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LULU WANG on The Farewell



Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in The Farewell (9)


The Farewell: Where personal and universal meet

By Lynn Lee

Coming out of The Farewell, I jokingly asked my husband, “Any of those family dynamics ring a bell?”  It was a double-edged joke, as one of the most challenging differences between us is our night-and-day attitudes towards our respective families, which we attribute to our different backgrounds.  He’s white and can trace his American lineage back to the Mayflower, but feels no particular responsibility to his immediate family and rarely sees his extended family; I’m a second-generation Korean American, born to naturalized U.S. citizens who, despite having now been here far longer than they ever lived in Korea, have maintained strong ties to their birth country and culture.  As such, they regularly remind me of my obligations to my immediate family, my extended family, and even my husband's family - something that both amuses and bemuses my husband.

No surprise, then, that The Farewell was a must-see for me.  True, it’s not “my” story: I’m not Chinese, after all, and as far as I know no one in my family has ever lied to anyone else in the family about their health.  But the film’s broader underlying themes – the feeling of being caught between the values of East and West, and not fully belonging to one or the other – spoke to me at a gut level...

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The Lion King's Leftovers

What did you see this weekend? Disney's photorealistic animated remake of the animated classic was all the rage as audiences stampeded to theaters like a herd of wildebeests. Though the numbers below are just estimates it's accounting for about 72% of the nation's box office. Insanity. Next time you hear someone complaining about 'Hollywood running out of ideas' check how many of Disney's recent remakes they've seen before taking them seriously.

Weekend Box Office Estimates
July 19th-21st 
๐Ÿ”บ = New or Expanding / โ˜… = Highly Recommended
The Lion King The Farewell
1 ๐Ÿ”บ The Lion King  $185 *new*
1 ๐Ÿ”บ The Farewell $1.1 (cum. $1.6) REVIEWINTERVIEW โ˜…

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The Farewell has a stunning opening weekend! 

What did you see this weekend?

Weekend Box Office Estimates
July 12th-14th  
๐Ÿ”บ = New or Expanding / โ˜… = Highly Recommended
Spider-Man: Far From Home The Farewell
1 Spider-Man Far From Home  $45.3 (cum. $274.5) on 4634 screens  TOM HOLLAND, REVIEW
1 ๐Ÿ”บ Super 30 $923k new on 317 screens
2 Toy Story 4 $20.6 (cum. $346.3) on 4210 screens PODCAST, REVIEW
2  Last Black Man in... $361k (cum. $3.3) on 207 screens REVIEWPODCASTBEST OF โ˜…
3 ๐Ÿ”บ Crawl $12 new on 3170 screens REVIEW
3 ๐Ÿ”บ The Farewell $351k new on 4 screens REVIEW, INTERVIEW โ˜…
4 ๐Ÿ”บ Stuber $8 new on 3050 screens REVIEW
4 ๐Ÿ”บ Wild Rose $294k (cum. $751k) on 161 screens PODCAST, SOUNDTRACKING
Yesterday $6.7 (cum. $48.3) on 2755 screens
5  Pavarotti $255k (cum. $3.5) on 196 screeens
Aladdin $5.8 (cum. $331.4) on 2557 screens  REVIEW1992 RETRO
6 ๐Ÿ”บ Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable $250k new on 205 screens
Anabelle Comes Home $5.5 (cum. $60.7) on 3209 screens
7 ๐Ÿ”บ Maiden $224k (cum. $484k) on 68 screens  REVIEW โ˜…

numbers on that chart are pulled from boxofficemojo

The weekend was very kind to Far From Home which is outpacing its predecessor and is already the 3rd highest grossing Spidey worldwide behind Spider-Man 3 (2007) and Homecoming (2017)... for now at least. The new wide releases performed around expectations. Crawl did solid business (especially given that it's budget is a low $13 million) but Stuber struggled

The best news is that it was a huge weekend for Lulu Wang's awards-hopeful The Farewell, which earned the highest opening per screen average of the year so far ($87,833 per theater). The film expands from NY and LA to other top markets next week and goes wide on August 2nd. That's quicker than we were expecting but the numbers are strong. That's good news for cinephiles since any success for artful indies is to be celebrated in this tough theatrical market.


New this weekend: "The Farewell" and "The Art of Self Defense"

The alligator thriller Crawl and the buddy comedy Stuber are the new wide releases this weekend but let us now direct your attention to the new films in limited release today, as we reviewed both during their festival runs...

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Interview: Lulu Wang on 'The Farewell' and why it's important to declare she's American

by Murtada Elfadl

When I meet Lulu Wang at the A24 offices in Manhattan, she looks really cool despite the hot weather and despite the fact that she has “not been part of the world since January because I've just been traveling.” Perhaps it’s the effect of Headspace, the meditation app she uses. “It has all of these five or ten minute meditations. I listen to in the car ride between going to screenings. It just helps me breathe.

January was when her second feature film as a writer and director, The Farewell, premiered at Sundance to ecstatic reviews, including one from this writer. Since then Wang has been flying around the world as the film played at many other film festivals. Wang has drawn on her own family’s history to tell a warm, funny and poignant tale about a young Queens artist, Billi (played by Awkwafina), and the tender relationship she has with her grandmother, whom she calls Nai Nai or "grandma" in Mandarin, and who lives in Changchun, China. When Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, the family decides to hide the news from her and instead concocts a scheme to marry off a cousin, so that they have an excuse to gather around the grandmother one more time before she goes. This lie doesn’t sit well with Billi and the film shows us the friction and love as the family grapples with this. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

 Murtada Elfadl: There were reports last week that you turned down a big payday from a streamer and chose to go with a theatrical release. Why is that important to you?  

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such wonderful things surround you, what more is you linkin' for ๐ŸŽต

/Film Why Lulu Wang turned down a huge streaming offer for The Farewell to go theatrical with A24
Vulture ranking the Spider-Man villains -- Into the Spider-Verse villains ought to be flipped and Far From Home's big bad is a spot or too low but otherwise a very correct list! 
The Atlantic good piece on the possibly self-parodic elements of Spider-Man Far From Home
The Guardian an interesting but depressing report on directors getting away with making LGBTQ films in homophobic countries 

After the jump The Little Mermaid, The Lost Boys, Toy Story 4, and Be More Chill...

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