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The Best Asian-American Movies of All Time

Between Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell, and Always Be My Maybe in recent years, there’s been a surge in Asian-American representation on screens of all sizes. These films are milestones in what has been a long, continuous journey to be seen and heard in theaters and at home, and we celebrate those contemporary hits and everything else that has come before them with the 65 Best Asian-American Movies.

To be Asian-American means a personal identity spread across a coalition of different countries. Under this umbrella is a wide range of Pacific Ocean cultures and histories, countries whose people have also found a new life in the United States. The movies in our guide reflect their experiences, from Korean (Columbus, Minari), Chinese (Saving Face), Singaporean (Shirkers), Japanese (To Be Takei), Filipino (The Debut), Vietnamese (Green Dragon), and more. South Asian-American films included are The Big Sick, The Namesake, and Meet the Patels.

We selected movies where the Asian-American experience drives character and story, or had a significant impact on Asian-American audiences due to its casting, the filmmakers behind it, and for breaking representational ground (Searching, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before). The Asian-American experience is sometimes about traveling to a foreign “home” country, explored in movies like Always Tomorrow in Hong Kong, Go Back to China, and Cavite. And sometimes the experience is about coming to America and becoming citizens, as in Journey From the Fall or Tigertail. These stories start overseas, but are also set and shot in America, so we included those.

The historical landmark films are here, including Chan Is Missing, The Joy Luck Club, and Better Luck Tomorrow. All except for Flower Drum Song: This 1961 musical was the first major Hollywood production to have an Asian-American cast, but it’s also Rotten on the Tomatometer. We included only Fresh movies, with at least 10 reviews, before ranking them using our ranking formula, takes into factor the movie’s year of release and its number of reviews.

With all that said, we present the Best Asian-American Movies of all time!

#68

Bad Rap (2016)
70%

#68
Adjusted Score: 54961%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Four Asian-American rappers have to overcome obstacles as they try to make it big.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Salima Koroma

#67
#67
Adjusted Score: 46415%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two young children are left to fend for themselves when their mother disappears.... [More]
Directed By: Tze Chun

#66

Front Cover (2015)
83%

#66
Adjusted Score: 66237%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A growing friendship between a gay New York fashion stylist (Jake Choi) and a rising Beijing actor (James Chen) turns... [More]
Directed By: Ray Yeung

#65

Twinsters (2015)
92%

#65
Adjusted Score: 53605%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A French fashion design student stumbles upon a familiar face on YouTube: her own. Finding the resemblance uncanny, she sends... [More]

#64

Seoul Searching (2015)
75%

#64
Adjusted Score: 75064%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1986, teens attending a government camp for foreign born teenagers have wild experiences.... [More]
Directed By: Benson Lee

#63

Documented (2013)
75%

#63
Adjusted Score: 53723%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas becomes a crusader for immigration reform.... [More]
Starring:

#62
#62
Adjusted Score: 60280%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this drama from director Alan Parker, on-the-lam Jack McGurn (Dennis Quaid) flees to Los Angeles and takes a job... [More]
Directed By: Alan Parker

#61

Green Dragon (2001)
61%

#61
Adjusted Score: 60062%
Critics Consensus: Green Dragon struggles to control its sentimental tendencies, but its flaws are just outweighed by an affecting -- and often overlooked -- perspective on the Vietnam War.
Synopsis: "Green Dragon," set in California in 1975 in a Vietnamese refugee camp, tells the story of Tai Tran (Don Duong),... [More]
Directed By: Timothy Linh Bui

#60

Never Forever (2007)
80%

#60
Adjusted Score: 71715%
Critics Consensus: Smartly constructed by writer-director Gina Kim and brought to life by a strong cast led by Vera Farmiga, Never Forever is an unexpectedly engaging melodrama.
Synopsis: An affair with an immigrant worker allows a woman to find her true self.... [More]
Directed By: Kim Jina

#59

Linsanity (2013)
65%

#59
Adjusted Score: 65222%
Critics Consensus: Linsanity offers a compelling enough look at its basketball star subject for fans and curious viewers, even if it never really delves below the surface.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong chronicles the rise of basketball star Jeremy Lin, the first man of Chinese/Taiwanese descent to play... [More]
Directed By: Evan Leong

#58

Ping Pong Playa (2007)
64%

#58
Adjusted Score: 63501%
Critics Consensus: A gentle, light, kid friendly comedy about a Chinese-American hoopster turned ping pong pro, Playa is a charming but considerable digression from director Jessica Yu's previous works.
Synopsis: A slacker (Jimmy Tsai) must preserve his family's honor by winning a table tennis tournament.... [More]
Directed By: Jessica Yu

#57

Picture Bride (1994)
82%

#57
Adjusted Score: 70553%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After the father of Riyo (Youki Kudoh) dies, she becomes the arranged wife of Matsuji (Akira Takayama), a migrant worker... [More]
Directed By: Kayo Hatta

#56

Miami Connection (1988)
65%

#56
Adjusted Score: 61161%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Drug dealers get a free tae-kwon-do lesson from a college band called Dragon Sound (Y.K. Kim, Vincent Hirsch, William Ergle).... [More]
Directed By: Y.K. Kim, Park Woo-sang

#55

The Debut (2001)
71%

#55
Adjusted Score: 70077%
Critics Consensus: Although The Debut offers few surprises, it remains an engaging and well-acted look at the multi-generational immigrant experience.
Synopsis: A Filipino-American teenager (Dante Basco) reluctantly attends the coming-out party his father (Tirso Cruz III) is giving for his sister.... [More]
Directed By: Gene Cajayon

#54

Hollywood Chinese (2007)
100%

#54
Adjusted Score: 76221%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Arthur Dong's documentary Hollywood Chinese pays homage to the first century of the American film industry, as specifically colored... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Dong

#53
Adjusted Score: 73806%
Critics Consensus: With Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, writer-director Emily Ting adds a modest yet enjoyable entry to the expatriate rom-com subgenre.
Synopsis: A budding attraction develops between a U.S. expatriate (Bryan Greenberg) and a Chinese-American woman (Jamie Chung) who's visiting Hong Kong... [More]
Directed By: Emily Ting

#52

Cavite (2005)
73%

#52
Adjusted Score: 72905%
Critics Consensus: A gritty, low-budget thriller, Cavite takes us on a heart-pounding ride through the seedy Filipino underworld.
Synopsis: When Adam (Ian Gamazon), an American with roots in the Philippines, returns to his native land to bury his father,... [More]

#51

Robot Stories (2002)
74%

#51
Adjusted Score: 74777%
Critics Consensus: Although its four stories vary in quality, Robot Stories is still worth a look for Twilight Zone fans.
Synopsis: Four short tales revolve around a couple with a robotic baby, a mother (Wai Ching Ho) with a comatose son,... [More]
Directed By: Greg Pak

#50
Adjusted Score: 74229%
Critics Consensus: While its impact is blunted by an overly reverential approach to its subject, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story remains a reasonably entertaining biopic of the martial arts legend.
Synopsis: Bruce Lee's (Jason Scott Lee) rise begins in Hong Kong, as a young boy receiving traditional Chinese martial arts training.... [More]
Directed By: Rob Cohen

#49

Take Out (2004)
100%

#49
Adjusted Score: 100045%
Critics Consensus: Take Out presents an unvarnished view of one immigrant's experiences as a restaurant deliveryman -- and leaves the audience with plenty of food for thought.
Synopsis: A Chinese immigrant (Charles Jang) in New York works frantically to raise enough money through delivery tips to pay off... [More]

#48

Advantageous (2015)
86%

#48
Adjusted Score: 79913%
Critics Consensus: Advantageous transcends obvious budgetary limitations to pose thought-provoking questions about gender roles and family dynamics.
Synopsis: In a future where opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter Jules try to hold on to their joy.... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Phang

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 89123%
Critics Consensus: The Grace Lee Project is a clever, humorous, and personal exploration of identity, ethnic stereotypes, and the oppressive cultural expectations placed on Asian-American women.
Synopsis: When filmmaker Grace Lee discovered that her name is very common among Asian-Americans, she also found out that it carries... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Grace Lee

#46
Adjusted Score: 78160%
Critics Consensus: The likable leads and subversion of racial stereotypes elevate Harold and Kumar above the typical stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Nerdy accountant Harold (John Cho) and his irrepressible friend, Kumar (Kal Penn), get stoned watching television and find themselves utterly... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner

#45
Adjusted Score: 79772%
Critics Consensus: Though it may not be as profound as its pacing would suggest, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers delicately examines familial issues in an earnest fashion.
Synopsis: In the wake of his wife's death, Shi (Henry O) leaves his native China to find his estranged daughter, Yilan... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#44
Adjusted Score: 84614%
Critics Consensus: The Search for General Tso digs into the history of a beloved dish and uncovers a heaping helping of powerfully nourishing history along the way.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Ian Cheney explores the origin of a spicy-sweet chicken dish that is a popular item in many of America's... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ian Cheney

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 79395%
Critics Consensus: The plight of Asian refugees is sensitively rendered, and the movie builds, with the help of Nolte, to a wrenchingly poignant conclusion.
Synopsis: A Vietnamese youth (Damien Nguyen) of mixed race undertakes an arduous journey to the United States to find his American... [More]
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland

#42

Today's Special (2009)
81%

#42
Adjusted Score: 80458%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young Manhattan chef rediscovers his passion for life by making Indian food.... [More]
Directed By: David Kaplan

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 81689%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an attractive young cast, Charlotte mostly shines as a portrait of the sexual frolics and hangups of L.A. Asian twentysomethings.
Synopsis: Michael (Michael Idemoto) and Lori (Eugenia Yuan) have a close relationship that verges on romance. While Michael pines for Lori,... [More]
Directed By: Eric Byler

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 90349%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Comic Hari Kondabolu examines the East Indian cartoon character Apu on the long-running TV series "The Simpsons."... [More]
Directed By: Michael Melamedoff

#39

Go Back to China (2019)
82%

#39
Adjusted Score: 83080%
Critics Consensus: Uneven but entertaining, Go Back to China puts a refreshing cross-cultural spin on the traditional coming-of-age story arc.
Synopsis: A spoiled rich girl is sent to work for her family's toy business in China after she is cut off... [More]
Directed By: Emily Ting

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 85240%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After Mina's (Sarita Choudhury) Indian family is ousted from their home in Uganda by dictator Idi Amin, they relocate to... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 84241%
Critics Consensus: A promising work by Lin, the energetic Better Luck Tomorrow is disturbing and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: An accomplished high school student, Ben (Parry Shen) seems to excel at almost everything except winning over his dream girl,... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 80686%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Los Angeles detective (Glenn Corbett) and his Japanese partner (James Shigeta) woo an artist (Victoria Shaw) while solving a... [More]
Directed By: Samuel Fuller

#35

Tigertail (2020)
81%

#35
Adjusted Score: 85934%
Critics Consensus: Uneven yet revealing, Tigertail offers a well-acted -- and ultimately valuable -- look at the immigrant experience in America.
Synopsis: Years of monotonous work and a loveless marriage turns a once vibrant man into a shell of his former self.... [More]
Starring: Hong-Chi Lee
Directed By: Alan Yang

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 91151%
Critics Consensus: Ham Tran's ambitious film proves to be extremely powerful due to stunning photography and passionate performances.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Ham Tran

#33

In Between Days (2006)
86%

#33
Adjusted Score: 86388%
Critics Consensus: In Between Days is a moving, artistic slice-of-life indie film.
Synopsis: A lonely teen (Jiseon Kim) falls in love with her only friend (Taegu Andy Kang).... [More]
Directed By: So-yong Kim

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 72583%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Set in the 1880s, this film chronicles the journey of Lalu (Rosalind Chao), a Chinese woman whose financially desperate family... [More]
Directed By: Nancy Kelly

#31

Ms. Purple (2019)
87%

#31
Adjusted Score: 87955%
Critics Consensus: A finely layered drama with rich visal allure, Ms. Purple sifts sensitively through the emotional wreckage of a broken family.
Synopsis: A karaoke hostess reconnects with her estranged brother, forcing them to enter a period of intense self-reflection as their single... [More]
Directed By: Justin Chon

#30

The Motel (2005)
88%

#30
Adjusted Score: 87430%
Critics Consensus: A coming-of-age dramedy whose familiar outline is filled in with rewarding empathy and character detail, The Motel marks an impressive feature debut for writer-director Michael Kang.
Synopsis: While shouldering the burden of cleaning his family's sleazy motor inn, 13-year-old Ernest (Jeffrey Chyau) dreams of being a writer.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Kang

#29

Meet the Patels (2014)
87%

#29
Adjusted Score: 88462%
Critics Consensus: Meet the Patels works on multiple levels, offering an affably entertaining documentary about one man looking for love while posing thoughtful questions about cultural assimilation and modern romance.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Geeta V. Patel follows her brother, Indian-American actor Ravi V. Patel, as he embarks on a quest to find... [More]
Starring: Ravi V. Patel

#28

Saving Face (2004)
86%

#28
Adjusted Score: 88931%
Critics Consensus: A charming tale of a love affair that overcomes cultural taboos.
Synopsis: Wil (Michelle Krusiec) is a lesbian, but she not dare tell her widowed mother, Hwei-lan (Joan Chen), or her very... [More]
Directed By: Alice Wu

#27

Yellow Rose (2019)
87%

#27
Adjusted Score: 90080%
Critics Consensus: A coming-of-age story with a timely twist, Yellow Rose offers a fresh -- and sweetly rewarding -- perspective on the immigrant experience.
Synopsis: A Filipina teen must decide whether to stay with her family or leave her small Texas town to become a... [More]
Directed By: Diane Paragas

#26

The Namesake (2006)
85%

#26
Adjusted Score: 89511%
Critics Consensus: An ambitious exploration of the immigrant experience with a talented cast that serves the material well.
Synopsis: After moving from Calcutta to New York, members of the Ganguli family maintain a delicate balancing act between honoring the... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 90429%
Critics Consensus: Three teens contemplate life after high school while singing their hearts out in this fresh musical.
Synopsis: Three friends (Jake Moreno, H.P. Mendoza, L.A. Renigen), all recent high-school graduates, wonder what to do with the rest of... [More]
Directed By: Richard Wong

#24

To Be Takei (2014)
90%

#24
Adjusted Score: 90303%
Critics Consensus: To Be Takei rests almost entirely on its subject's inherent likability -- and, for the most part, that's more than enough.
Synopsis: Together with his husband Brad, actor-activist George Takei parlays his remarkable acting career and wicked sense of humor into a... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Jennifer Kroot, Bill Weber

#23

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#23
Adjusted Score: 91186%
Critics Consensus: Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.
Synopsis: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 92147%
Critics Consensus: The Joy Luck Club traces the generational divide, unearthing universal truths while exploring lives through the lens of a specific cultural experience.
Synopsis: In San Francisco, a group of aging Chinese women (Kieu Chinh, Tsai Chin, France Nuyen, Lisa Lu) meet regularly to... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#21

Be Water (2020)
93%

#21
Adjusted Score: 94226%
Critics Consensus: If Be Water's surface level approach doesn't quite match its subject's depth, it still serves as an appropriate introduction to the almighty Bruce Lee.
Synopsis: Martial arts legend Bruce Lee contends with racism as he tries to land leading roles in Hollywood.... [More]
Directed By: Bao Nguyen

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 94501%
Critics Consensus: Carried by the infectious charms of Ali Wong and Randall Park, Always Be My Maybe takes familiar rom-com beats and cleverly layers in smart social commentary to find its own sweet groove.
Synopsis: Childhood sweethearts have a falling out and don't speak for 15 years. They reconnect as adults when Sasha runs into... [More]
Directed By: Nahnatchka Khan

#19

Chan Is Missing (1982)
96%

#19
Adjusted Score: 98972%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining mystery that's also rich in setting and character detail, Chan Is Missing suggests thrilling potential from director/co-writer Wayne Wang.
Synopsis: In this understated comedy from director Wayne Wang, Jo (Wood Moy), a cab driver in San Francisco's Chinatown, and his... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#18
Adjusted Score: 97815%
Critics Consensus: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail transcends its less-than-dramatic trappings to present a gripping real-life legal thriller with far-reaching implications.
Synopsis: Abacus, a small family-run bank, becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Steve James

#17

Gook (2017)
94%

#17
Adjusted Score: 97240%
Critics Consensus: From its confrontational title to its striking cinematography, this raw cinematic gem uncompromisingly proves writer/director/actor Justin Chon is a filmmaker to watch.
Synopsis: Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers who own a struggling women's shoe store, have an unlikely friendship with 11-year-old... [More]
Directed By: Justin Chon

#16

Spa Night (2016)
96%

#16
Adjusted Score: 96963%
Critics Consensus: In depicting one man's sexual awakening, Spa Night explores the tension between tradition and individuality with tenderness and compassion.
Synopsis: A closeted Korean-American teenager follows his desires and finds more than he bargains for at a Korean spa.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Ahn

#15

Lucky Grandma (2019)
95%

#15
Adjusted Score: 98897%
Critics Consensus: Lucky Grandma gives Tsai Chin a long-overdue opportunity to shine in a leading role -- but it's audiences who are the truly fortunate ones.
Synopsis: In New York City's Chinatown, a Chinese grandma goes all in at the casino, landing herself on the wrong side... [More]
Directed By: Sasie Sealy

#14

In the Family (2011)
97%

#14
Adjusted Score: 97277%
Critics Consensus: In the Family uses one couple's tragedy to examine the legal meaning of parenthood - and make a persuasive argument for a more inclusive approach to family law.
Synopsis: After his partner dies in a car accident, a gay man (Patrick Wang) must fight for custody of the boy... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Wang

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 97818%
Critics Consensus: Ang Lee's funny and ultimately poignant comedy of manners reveals the filmmaker's skill across genres.
Synopsis: Wai-Tung (Winston Chao) and his boyfriend (Mitchell Lichtenstein) live happily as a gay couple in New York City. Wai-Tung has... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#12
Adjusted Score: 98497%
Critics Consensus: To All the Boys I've Loved Before plays by the teen rom-com rules, but relatable characters and a thoroughly charming cast more than make up for a lack of surprises.
Synopsis: A teenage girl's love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her life.... [More]
Directed By: Susan Johnson

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 100558%
Critics Consensus: A simple but engaging look at relationships, I Will Make You Mine brings the Surrogate Valentine trilogy to a fittingly poignant and perceptive close.
Synopsis: Three women wrestle with life's difficulties while confronting their past relationships with the same man.... [More]
Directed By: Lynn Chen

#10

The Paper Tigers (2020)
98%

#10
Adjusted Score: 100610%
Critics Consensus: The Paper Tigers blends action, comedy, and heart to produce a fresh martial arts movie with plenty of throwback charm.
Synopsis: Three martial artists--notorious in their prime as "the three tigers"--have grown into middle-aged men one kick from a pulled muscle.... [More]
Directed By: Quoc Bao Tran

#9

Columbus (2017)
97%

#9
Adjusted Score: 105217%
Critics Consensus: Wonderfully acted and artfully composed, Columbus balances the clean lines of architecture against the messiness of love, with tenderly moving results.
Synopsis: When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin finds himself stranded in Columbus,... [More]
Directed By: Kogonada

#8

Shirkers (2018)
99%

#8
Adjusted Score: 101563%
Critics Consensus: Shirkers uses one woman's interrogation of a pivotal personal disappointment to offer affecting observations on creativity, lost opportunity, and coming to terms with the past.
Synopsis: In 1992 teenager Sandi Tan shoots Singapore's first road movie with her enigmatic American mentor, Georges, who then absconded with... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Sandi Tan

#7

Driveways (2019)
99%

#7
Adjusted Score: 102787%
Critics Consensus: Understated yet powerful, Driveways is a character study anchored in fundamental decency -- and a poignant farewell to Brian Dennehy.
Synopsis: A lonely boy goes with his mother to help clean out his late aunt's house.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Ahn

#6

Searching (2018)
92%

#6
Adjusted Score: 106451%
Critics Consensus: Searching's timely premise and original execution are further bolstered by well-rounded characters brought to life by a talented cast.
Synopsis: David Kim becomes desperate when his 16-year-old daughter Margot disappears and an immediate police investigation leads nowhere. He soon decides... [More]
Directed By: Aneesh Chaganty

#5

Minding the Gap (2018)
100%

#5
Adjusted Score: 106904%
Critics Consensus: Minding the Gap draws on more than a decade of documentary footage to assemble a poignant picture of young American lives that resonates far beyond its onscreen subjects.
Synopsis: Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected... [More]
Starring: Bing Liu
Directed By: Bing Liu

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 112581%
Critics Consensus: With a terrific cast and a surfeit of visual razzle dazzle, Crazy Rich Asians takes a satisfying step forward for screen representation while deftly drawing inspiration from the classic -- and still effective -- rom-com formula.
Synopsis: Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised... [More]
Directed By: Jon M. Chu

#3

The Big Sick (2017)
98%

#3
Adjusted Score: 121029%
Critics Consensus: Funny, heartfelt, and intelligent, The Big Sick uses its appealing leads and cross-cultural themes to prove the standard romcom formula still has some fresh angles left to explore.
Synopsis: Kumail is a Pakistani comic, who meets an American graduate student named Emily at one of his stand-up shows. As... [More]
Directed By: Michael Showalter

#2

Minari (2020)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 114410%
Critics Consensus: Led by arresting performances from Steven Yeun and Yeri Han, Minari offers an intimate and heart-wrenching portrait of family and assimilation in 1980s America.
Synopsis: A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas... [More]
Directed By: Lee Isaac Chung

#1

The Farewell (2019)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 118660%
Critics Consensus: The Farewell deftly captures complicated family dynamics with a poignant, well-acted drama that marries cultural specificity with universally relatable themes.
Synopsis: Billi's family returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch... [More]
Directed By: Lulu Wang

Wolverine, Professor X, and the rest of their soul patrol will launch a full-scale attack on the North American box office this weekend as the gargantuan comic book film X-Men: The Last Stand invades the marketplace on Friday ready to dominate the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Rival studios have ceded the frame to the much anticipated Fox sequel as no other film will open in wide release. But with the religious thriller The Da Vinci Code coming off of a spectacular opening, and the animated hit Over the Hedge doing well with family audiences, it should be a very busy four-day weekend at the megaplexes as all types of moviegoers will have something worth spending money on.

The world’s favorite mutants embark on what could be their final mission in X-Men: The Last Stand which has its eyes set on breaking the opening weekend record for the Memorial Day frame. After directing the first two successful installments, Bryan Singer jumped ship to helm Superman Returns opening up the director’s chair on Stand for Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon). All the primary cast members have returned including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn, and Anna Paquin. Kelsey Grammer joins the cast playing Beast.

The X-Men franchise has grown in size throughout this decade. After the demise of the Batman franchise in 1997, the comic book genre seemed dead until the first X-Men arrived in July of 2000 with a powerful $54.5M bow firmly planting Marvel in the feature film business. Three years later, Fox plugged the sequel X2: X-Men United into the prominent first weekend of May slot and blasted off to the tune of $85.6M. Final domestic grosses reached $157.3M and $214.9M respectively and with video and television, the franchise lured in more and more converts. Unlike most of 2003’s other summer action sequels like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, X2 was a second installment that was even more popular than the first making fans crave yet another film in the series.

X-Men remains one of the top comic properties around and speculation that this will be the final installment will make fans not want to miss out. Between the escalating actor salaries and the heavy dependence on expensive special effects, Fox and Marvel Entertainment probably couldn’t afford to bankroll an X-Men 4 even if they wanted to. With the Star Wars prequels having finished up and this franchise closing up shop soon, Fox is looking to squeeze every dime it can out of The Last Stand. Its next big super hero flick won’t take off until June 15 of next year when Fantastic Four 2 hits screens a cool six weeks after Sony’s Spider-Man 3. It’s no surprise then why Fox is rolling out its tentpole pic in almost every major market around the world this weekend.

For this weekend, X-Men has a secret weapon in its arsenal which should propel its numbers at the box office – teens. Studios have not done a good job over the last several weeks in exciting the most desirable of all age groups. MI3, Poseidon, and The Da Vinci Code all skewed older leaving high school students thinking these were their parents’ summer movies. Afterall, the average 16-year-old was only six when Tom Cruise first wowed audiences in Mission: Impossible. Finally with the mutant posse, Hollywood is delivering the goods for teens and young adults offering an action-packed adventure heavy on the type of special effects and action that people are eager to pay money for. No wait-for-the-DVD here. A strong turnout from this age group should be at the core of X-Men’s success this weekend.

Most folks who drove X2 past the double century mark three years ago are likely to return this time. That film had virtually no competition to deal with whereas Last Stand will face a pair of potent sophomores that could rake in over $70M combined over the four-day stretch. However, the new film has the added benefit of three years of ticket price increases, a holiday frame that should power Sunday and Monday numbers to exceptional heights, and a fan base that is likely to have grown even larger since the last film.

For nine long years, Steven Spielberg‘s dinosequel The Lost World has held the record for the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening ever with a colossal $92.7M over four days including Thursday night previews. The record for the largest overall weekend tally over the frame is held by 2004’s Shrek 2 which hauled in a stunning $95.6M over four days while in its second weekend. X-Men hopes to become the first film to open to nine digits over this long holiday span.

The month of May has been chock full of eye-popping four-day openings from effects-driven action films appealing to mass audiences looking to start their summer off with a bang. Four-day opening tallies in recent years include $158.4M for last year’s Star Wars Episode III, $134.3M for The Matrix Reloaded, $110.2M for Star Wars Episode II, and $85.8M for The Day After Tomorrow. The Last Stand may not have the same level of anticipation as some of those blockbusters, but it does have a loyal fan following that is ready to pounce on theaters this weekend. Fox is aiming to dominate the box office this weekend opening X-Men: The Last Stand in 3,688 theaters. The super hero extravaganza might fly off with around $108M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday session setting a new industry record.

With only one major studio release invading theaters, a number of smaller distributors are using the holiday frame to launch limited release titles. Yash Raj Films enters most major markets on Friday with the Bollywood release Fanaa which stars one of India’s biggest box office draws Aamir Khan. Paramount’s new specialty division Paramount Vantage opened Al Gore‘s global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth in four theaters on Wednesday. The PG-rated film chronicles the former Vice President’s mission on educating the world on environmental issues that are threatening our civilization and will expand into more markets across the country in the weeks ahead.

Opening in solo houses in New York City are the Jewish road drama Shem and the Filipino thriller Cavite. HP Releasing’s Shem finds a young man traveling across Europe to find his great grandfather’s grave while Truly Indie’s Cavite is a no-budget kidnapping drama in which a man arrives in the Philippines and is forced to commit heinous deeds by a terrorist if he wants to see his family alive again. Both films open in Los Angeles later in June.

Last weekend, Ron Howard‘s The Da Vinci Code opened to explosive results grossing a staggering $77.1M in its first three days. Over the holiday frame, the conspiracy thriller will benefit from adults having extra time off, a four-day span, and the fact that the only new film entering theaters will play to a somewhat different audience. However, Code generated a frontloaded bow last weekend with Friday accounting for an extraordinarily high 39% of the three-day take and Saturday sales seeing a slight dip. Fans of the book certainly rushed out on the first day to see Tom Hanks play symbologist Robert Langdon so now the film must survive having already burned through its core crowd.

Studios routinely pick the weekend before the Memorial Day frame as a launching pad for their biggest blockbusters, but sophomore declines over the holiday can vary. In 2003, the much-hyped sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded saw its four-day holiday gross tumble 50% from its three-day debut gross. The following year, Shrek 2 slipped just 12% while last year’s Star Wars Episode III dropped a more moderate 35%. Code does not play to a sci-fi crowd or to an audience of children so its numbers will be closely watched.

The Sony smash has performed admirably during the week grossing a fantastic $8.8M on Monday, helped in part by Canada’s Victoria Day holiday, and another $6.2M on Tuesday. Code looks to crack the magical $100M mark by the end of its first full week in theaters before heading right into a sophomore frame cushioned by a holiday. Since word-of-mouth is just average, The Da Vinci Code may see its four-day take drop by 40% to around $46M. That would allow the much-talked-about film’s 11-day cume to surge to $148M.

The animated comedy Over the Hedge got off to a solid start last weekend and should continue to be the leading choice for families with younger kids. A 20% drop to about $31M over four days would give Paramount $79M after 11 days. The studio’s spy sequel Mission: Impossible III looks to fall by around 35% to roughly $7M giving Tom Cruise a total of $114M. The disaster flick Poseidon could fall by the same amount to around $6M lifting the sum to $45M for Warner Bros.

LAST YEAR The Memorial Day weekend box office was on fire thanks to a selection of red hot hits helping the top four films alone gross more than $200M over four days. Star Wars Episode III remained at number one for the second weekend with a commanding $70M over the Friday-to-Monday span boosting its 12-day cume to an eye-popping $270.5M. DreamWorks went after younger kids with its animated hit Madagascar which bowed to a hefty $61M to take second place while the studio’s future parent Paramount was close behind in third with the Adam Sandler comedy The Longest Yard which opened to $58.6M. The two blockbusters, which both featured Chris Rock, went on to gross $193.2M and $158.1M, respectively. More funny flicks followed with New Line’s Monster-in-Law dropping to fourth with $12.8M over the long weekend and Universal’s Kicking and Screaming taking in $6.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Lost in the shadow of the weekend’s Oscar coverage was the annual Independent Spirit Awards presentation, which is where you’ll find … a lot of accolades similar to the Academy Award winners.

Best Feature: "Brokeback Mountain"

Best Director: Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"

Best Screenplay: Dan Futterman, "Capote"

Best First Feature
: Paul Haggis, "Crash"

Best First Screenplay
: Duncan Tucker, "Transamerica"

John Cassavetes Award
: "Conventioneers" (For the Best Feature made for under $500,000) Director: Mora Stephens

Best Supporting Female: Amy Adams, "Junebug"

Best Supporting Male: Matt Dillon, "Crash"

Best Female Lead
: Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"

Best Male Lead: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"

Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit, "Good Night, and Good Luck"

Best Foreign Film
: "Paradise Now" Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Best Documentary
: "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" Director: Alex Gibney

AMC/American Express Producers Award: Caroline Baron, "Capote", "Monsoon Wedding" ($25,000 unrestricted grant — honors producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality independent films.)

IFC/Acura Someone To Watch Award
: Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, "Cavite" ($25,000 unrestricted — honors a director of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.)

Truer Than Fiction Award: Ian Olds and Garrett Scott, "Occupation: Dreamland" ($25,000 unrestricted — presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features.)

For more on the Independent Spirit Awards, check out the report at Indiewire / Yahoo!

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