Lulu Wang’s family dramedy The Farewell has surpassed Avengers: Endgame for the biggest per-theater box office average this year.
The Awkwafina-led film opened Friday to a gross of $351,330 in four theaters, which meant it averaged $87,833 per theater, according to Box Office Mojo. Meanwhile, Marvel’s Endgame debuted April 26 to a whopping $357,115,007 gross in 4,662 theaters, averaging to $76,601 per theater.
Of course, Endgame wins out in total revenue and has set numerous box office records like becoming the highest grossing film of 2019 and the second-highest grossing film of all time, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But The Farewell‘s achievement remains impressive, especially with a considerably smaller budget (no superhero costumes or intergalactic space travel for the A24 feature), a lesser-known cast, and its subject matter.
The film centers on Awkwafina’s Billi, a Chinese American woman who discovers that her family is keeping her grandmother’s terminal cancer diagnosis a secret from their matriarch. Critics have hailed the film, and it has scored a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. EW’s Leah Greenblatt praised Wang for infusing it with “the freshness of her own distinct voice, a dry humor and low-key melancholy.”
The Farewell has also been bolstered by the #GoldOpen movement that previously boosted films like Crazy Rich Asians, with Asian American communities spreading the word on social media and hosting screenings nationwide. And the opening figures remained strong despite a power outage in New York City that caused AMC Lincoln Square to temporarily close.
Wang jokingly tweeted that audiences affected by the outage should “come over to my house and I’ll screen it. You bring the food, I’ll bring the movie.”