This Weekend's Box Office Is Great For Asian Representation, Terrible for Kevin Spacey
This was a red-letter weekend at the domestic box office for a few reasons. Let’s start with the tough break:
Billionaire Boys Club, which some naively expected could be a comeback for disgraced actor Kevin Spacey, is a jaw-hit-the-floor box office disaster.
At ten locations, Billionaire Boys Club grossed $126. That’s about enough to cover the cost of a brand new pair of sensible Nike running shoes.
That’s 1/ 841, 269th the North American opening day gross of Avengers: Infinity War.
Critics have dismissed Billionaire Boys Club, generally agreeing that it’s a third-rate, amateurish Wall Street/ Wolf of Wall Street knockoff with very little working for it. The picture co-stars Ansel Elgort and Emma Roberts. The drama is about a 1980s Ponzi scheme ring.
In the film, Spacey plays—check this out—an extremely wealthy man who abuses his power and takes advantage of people.
To refresh: last October, Rent and Star Trek Discovery star Anthony Rapp told Buzzfeed that Spacey made sexual advances when Rapp was a minor. This led to a swift, industry-wide fallout for the actor, who has now been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 30 men. He was replaced with Christopher Plummer in Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, and he was unceremoniously killed off for the final season of House of Cards.
Let’s wrap up with the bright side of this weekend’s box office: Warner Brothers’ Crazy Rich Asians is a triumph. The Singapore-set rom-com, first Hollywood studio release with an all-Asian cast since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club, is estimated to earn nearly $40 million in its first five days (it opened on Wednesday).
Crazy Rich Asians has received critical acclaim, boasting a juicy 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Many say it is the best romantic comedy released by a Hollywood studio in a decade or so. This is a watershed moment for Asian representation in the industry. Let's hope the diversity in big-budget filmmaking continues.