Bring a box of tissues. And some dark glasses to hide those red eyes. That's the collective wisdom from cinemagoers who have survived The Fault In Our Stars, the film adaptation of John Green's 2012 novel leaving worldwide audiences bawling.
Stars is a love story of two witty and engaging teenagers, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), who have cancer. It's a recipe for a tearjerker - and, a la Nick Cassavetes' The Notebook, this pervasive sense of doom means the tears are liable to flow throughout, rather than just at the end.
Tweets from local cinemagoers suggest there were few dry eyes when the film was released in Australia on Thursday. "Bawled my eyes out, glad I didn't wear an inch of makeup," one user posted. Another said staff at their cinema were handing out tissues. Indeed, manufacturer Kleenex is in for the ride, marketing its line of products to prospective viewers of the film.
And the hype has translated into sales. Stars took $US26.1 million at the US box office on Friday, and is projected to exceed $50 million for its opening weekend. It reportedly cost just $12 million to make.
Good thing I don't need my heart anymore. The Fault In Our Stars ripped it out anyways.— Kadeja Thomas (@kayAYEtea) June 7, 2014
Currently transporting a carload of crying 14-year-old girls. Thanks for nothing, The Fault In Our Stars.— Jiggy Nye (@jiggynye) June 7, 2014
The Tom Cruise blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow is thought to have cost at least $178 million, and took $10.6 million in North America on Friday. Maleficent, directed by Robert Stromberg and starring Angelina Jolie, will have a strong second weeked in the US and is expected to take more than $30 million.
While Cruise's epic can expect to do particularly well overseas, Stars has also attracted international attention. Time magazine reports the Philippines is the country most 'obsessed' with the teenage love story, where the film's search volume is more than double the US, according to Google data. Singapore was the third most interested country, and Australia fourth.
Critics are divided but users on film website Rotten Tomatoes have given Stars a big tick, with an audience approval rating of 93 per cent. Green's book, his fourth young adult fiction novel, was a New York Times bestseller and he himself has been placed among Time's 100 'most influential people'.
The year is shaping up nicely for both of the film's young stars. Elgort, 20, and Woodley, 22, featured as brother and sister in Neil Burger's Divergent, which garnered similar sales figures on its opening weekend in March and has gone on to take $267 million worldwide.
Five films to make you cry
The Notebook - Nick Cassavetes' 2004 drama is a slow-burn tearjerker. As the fate of two young lovers becomes clear, the tragedy of amnesia makes for much sadness. Watch with ice cream; lover.
Titanic - We know Jack and Rose are doomed from day dot but that doesn't make dealing with James Cameron's 1997 epic any easier. Watch with a bottle of wine; drain it when Celine Dion starts singing.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - This 2008 film from director Mark Herman pulls the heartstrings when the son of a concentration camp commander befriends a Jewish boy. The consequences are tragic and unexpected.
Stepmom - Cancer strikes again in this 1998 Chris Columbus drama starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, whose character demonstrates tenacity and humour in the face of terminal illness. Watch with the family, maybe.
My Girl - Kids again, naturally. Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky star in this 1991 drama from director Howard Zieff. A young romance is ripped apart by an allergic reaction. Watch when you feel like extinguishing all hope.