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Thai director thanks Singaporeans, Malaysians for viral video response to tear-jerking film

The director of a Thai film which has audiences across Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia reaching for the tissue boxes with its tear-jerking relationship study of an ailing grandmother and her grandson says he is grateful for the viral social media response which shows his film is “resonating” across the region.

How to Make Millions Before Grandma Dies has gripped the hearts of Southeast Asians since its weekend release in the region – many of whom are filming their before and after reactions on TikTok.

More than three million Indonesians have watched the film since its May 30 release, while it has so far taken over US$9 million at the Thai box office, in the biggest cinema release of the year. The film first opened in Thailand in April.

In Singapore and Malaysia, audience members have set themselves “try not to cry” challenges, during a film which touches on death, age and love across the generations, and have posted the weeping results of their failure on TikTok and Instagram.

“Everybody has a family, I think that is why this film resonates to that very deep feeling that we can all relate to,” director Pat Boonnitipat told This Week in Asia.

“Thailand and Singapore are so different in many ways, but when you go deep down we react to a story in the same way,” the 33-year-old added.

“I’m very thankful for people posting their videos and I’m very fortunate to see the faces of the audience, this will be a part of how I make the next one.”

Pat’s debut feature film is a family drama about a grandson seeking an inheritance from his elderly grandmother, but their relationship deepens as the story unwinds, touching on issues of ageing Asia and cross-generational love, choice and duty.

Singaporean Nicholas Teo, a full-time content