By Nancy Tartaglione
Published June 15, 2021
Dad, I’m Sorry originally debuted in the U.S. in just 19 theaters via 3388 Films, landing a spot in the Top 10 that first weekend and grossing over $400K to claim the record of best opening weekend for a Vietnam film in U.S theaters. It then expanded to 38 cinemas on its second weekend, before playing in 47 across the U.S. this past frame. That’s the widest theater count for any Vietnam film in the domestic market, according to 3388. (It should be noted that Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Anh Hung’s 1993 Oscar-nominated The Scent Of Green Papaya was a big indie hit Stateside, but qualified as a French production.)
Dad, I’m Sorry‘s success was bolstered by local Vietnamese communities across the country, in areas such as Orange County, San Jose, Houston, Seattle, Atlanta and Orlando.
The film is based on a five-episode web drama that drew some 90M viewers and was the brainchild of Tran Thanh, a hugely popular comic actor and television host. Tran wrote the piece, co-directed with Vu Ngoc Dang, and also stars as a beleaguered middle-aged man who tries, and largely fails, to preside over a dysfunctional, exceptionally argumentative family in a poor area of Saigon. In his review, Deadline’s Todd McCarthy called the movie “a disputatious comedy-drama with a thick sentimental streak.”
Says 3388 Films Thien A Pham, “This amazing feat is a reflection of the strong support from the Vietnamese community. We’re really unlocking the untapped potential of the domestic market for a Vietnamese film right now, and these numbers are absolutely encouraging for Vietnamese films and for all independent and international films. We’re very motivated to continue to create new markets in the domestic U.S. territory for international films to reach a wider audience.”
Adds Tran Thanh, “My biggest hope is that not only will older folks go see this film, but also Gen Z… I’ve seen a lot of audience members, after watching the film, tear up with more love for their parents, and in turn, parents gaining more compassion and empathy for their children and where they’re coming from. That’s why I want to bring this film to the U.S.”
The film is produced by Trấn Thành Town, Galaxy Studio and HK Film.