Thailand’s “How to Make Millions before Grandma Dies” Becomes All-Time Most Successful Southeast Asian Movie

Thailand’s “How to Make Millions before Grandma Dies” Becomes All-Time Most Successful Southeast Asian Movie
Credit: Instagram

Did anyone hold back tears while watching this movie? This Thai movie, which has been trending on various social media platforms, has become the top box office hit in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

In its home country, the film exploded, earning 100 million baht in its first five days and leading the domestic box office charts. Outside of Thailand, it has become the highest-grossing Thai film of all time in Singapore and Malaysia.

In Indonesia, the film attracted 3.5 million viewers, surpassing the Korean horror film "Exhuma" (2.6 million viewers) and becoming the most successful Asian film ever in the country. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the film grossed VND72.6 billion (US$28.6 million) in just 18 days.

The film has touched the hearts of 10 million viewers worldwide and grossed 1 billion baht (about $27 million) from global box office earnings, surpassing the expectations of screenwriter Thodsapon Thiptinnakorn and director Pat Boonnitipat. This success showcases the power of its heartfelt story and its ability to resonate with audiences across different countries.

But did you know? There is a touching story behind the success of this movie.

Director Pat Boonnitipat, who debuted with "How To Make Millions Before Grandma Dies," was motivated to complete this film on time so his grandmother could watch it and help support the family's mirror and glass-making business.

Boonnitipat even moved back in with his 92-year-old grandmother to better understand her character. He asked many questions about her life and legacy, which made her suspicious. However, Boonnitipat later explained that he wanted to make a film about her life.

Although the grandmother character in the film is not entirely based on Boonnitipat's grandmother, he admits that her portrayal was inspired by his grandmother, as she is the only one he knows well. 

Pat Boonnitipat is known for his meticulous and self-critical approach to filmmaking, and this is evident in "How to Make Millions Before Grandma Dies." He personally selected every team member and paid close attention to every detail to minimize mistakes and produce the best film.

One of his bold decisions was to cast amateur actress Usha Seamkhum in the lead role of the grandmother. Usha was chosen for her ability to express emotions naturally. 

Though Usha brought a fresh nuance to the film, the natural acting required for this role proved to be a significant challenge. Boonnitipat explained that Usha had to act as if she were at home, performing everyday actions like eating, talking, and walking seamlessly. This required much practice and patience to achieve a natural result.

Boonnitipat also considered the same criteria when selecting the lead actor, seeking someone who could connect emotionally with the audience. He believed Billkin possessed this quality, seeing in him a kind heart despite his character's sometimes questionable intentions.

If you're wondering whether Boonnitipat's grandmother eventually got to see the film, the answer is YES.

Even though the film was inspired by her, Boonnitipat revealed that his grandmother had a understated reaction after watching it. She commented that the film was ordinary and that her life had been much harder than depicted.

Despite this, the film comes highly recommended. It tells the story of a young man named M who pretends to care for his grandmother to inherit her money. He spends time with her and provides what she needs. In the end, he realizes something more important and inherits something far more valuable than money: (You’ll have to watch to find out).

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