New TikTok Trend Inspired by ‘Saltburn’: What is the ‘Rich People’ Challenge?

TikTok has been taken by storm by a new trend inspired by the recent release of the film ‘Saltburn’. With its release in mid-November and subsequent availability on Amazon Prime Video, the movie has sparked significant discussions and online buzz. The trend, known as the ‘Rich People’ Challenge, has gained traction on the platform and is causing quite a stir.

What is 'Saltburn'?

The film ‘Saltburn’ revolves around the character Oliver Quick, portrayed by Barry Keoghan, as he embarks on his academic journey at Oxford and befriends the affluent and popular Felix Catton, played by Jacob Elordi. As the plot unfolds, Oliver’s fascination with Felix and his prestigious family estate, Saltburn, leads to a series of questionable decisions. Ultimately, Oliver finds himself owning Saltburn, intertwined in themes of obsession, class divisions, wealth, and power.

The Emergence of the 'Rich People' Challenge

Drawing inspiration from a pivotal scene in the film, the ‘Rich People’ Challenge on TikTok showcases users recreating Oliver’s dance through Saltburn within the confines of their own homes. Interestingly, some of these homes bear a striking resemblance to the opulence depicted in the movie.

Controversy and Criticisms

The trend has sparked polarizing opinions, with critics questioning the implications of flaunting wealth, especially in light of the film’s exploration of the perils associated with affluence. Some argue that the essence of the movie has been missed, emphasizing that the cautionary tale within ‘Saltburn’ should dissuade individuals from replicating its extravagant displays.

The Intended Message and Interpretations

Notably, some individuals perceive the trend through a different lens. Elliot Hoste, a reporter for ‘Dazed’, posits that the trend reflects an implicit understanding of the film’s fictional nature. To these individuals, the film serves as a work of fiction rather than a stern admonition against the trappings of the upper class.
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Diverging Perspectives

Amidst the contention, film critic Clarisse Loughrey from ‘The Independent’ asserts that ‘Saltburn’ does not present a definitive conclusion as a class satire. Loughrey emphasizes the emotional depth of the plot, drawing attention to director Emerald Fennell’s upbringing in a similar upper-class environment. Consequently, the interpretation of the film’s thematic essence remains open to diverse perspectives.

The Musical Element and Global Influence

An integral aspect of the trend is the use of the song ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, featured prominently in the final scene of the movie and replicated in the TikTok posts. The track experienced a surge in global Spotify streams on New Year’s Eve and even garnered participation from the artist herself, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor joining in on the trend.


The ‘Rich People’ Challenge on TikTok has undeniably sparked vibrant discussions and varied reactions. While some perceive it as a misinterpretation of the film’s message, others view it as a self-aware portrayal aligned with the fictional nature of the movie. Ultimately, the trend has brought to the forefront complex discussions surrounding conspicuous displays of wealth and the differing interpretations of cinematic narratives.


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