‘The Farewell’ Director Turned Down A Streaming Service Offering Twice As Much Money In Favor Of Theatrical Release

The Playlist | 7/3/2019 | Charles Barfield
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Filmmaker Lulu Wang is on the precipice of becoming one of the biggest names in indie film, thanks to her latest project “The Farewell.” After an incredible premiere at this year’s Sundance, Wang’s second feature film as a director was quickly part of a bidding war between some major distributors. And with offers on the table, Wang had to choose between theatrical release and a streaming platform.

According to a new profile of Wang in Vulture, the filmmaker’s decision didn’t actually come down to money. Even though the money was significant.

Farewell - Awkwafina - Woman - China - Grandmother

“The Farewell” stars Awkwafina as a young woman that goes to China to see her dying grandmother. However, unlike a typical situation where the grandmother is aware of her impending fate, the young woman’s family has decided to collectively keep the diagnosis a secret from the aging matriarch, and instead, bring joy and family to her on her deathbed. The story is hugely personal for Wang, who based much of the film on her own true experiences.

And it’s that authenticity and emotion that led to A24 rushing out to spend a reported $6 million to $7 million on the rights to the film, which is twice the production budget. But Wang says that A24 wasn’t the only offer out there. A streaming service (she didn’t name who) had offered her twice the amount that A24 was going to spend, but wouldn’t promise a theatrical release.

Wang - Decision - Hands

Thus, Wang had a decision on her hands.

“I was pretty upset because we...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Playlist
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