APA Media Coalition: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Heralds New Opportunities

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Henry Golding and Constance Wu star in “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” debuted at No. 1 at the box office on the weekend of Aug. 18-19, trouncing its competition and becoming the highest-grossing rom-com in three years with a five-day bow of $35.3 million.

A huge 38 percent of the audience for the movie so far has been Asian American, demonstrating the overwhelming pent-up demand by the community to see the first all-Asian cast for a Western-themed major studio film in 25 years.

Remarkably, 39 percent of the audience was white and roughly 24 percent were black or Latinx, showing that including Asian Americans as the stars of a movie will attract both Asian Americans who yearn to see themselves reflected on screen, and also non-Asian Americans in substantial numbers.

“Crazy Rich Asians” was projected to remain No. 1 for a second weekend and director Jon M. Chu has predicted that the movie will foster a movement toward greater opportunities for Asian Americans in Hollywood. Indeed, that appears to be happening already.

Several of the movie’s cast members have been cast in other movies or television shows, and there are reports of other Asian-themed movies being developed and television pilots being sold in the wake of the film’s success. And, of course, Warner Bros just announced that it is moving forward with a sequel to “Crazy Rich Asians,” reuniting the director, writers and creative team.

The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition advocates for greater diversity and inclusion of Asian Americans in Hollywood. Coalition Chair Daniel Mayeda said, “The triumph of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a vivid demonstration of what we have been telling the studios and networks for the past 19 years: that including us as the stars of TV shows and movies will make both your work and your wallets richer. We are excited to see the changes that will take place in the industry as more Asian Americans get the opportunity to showcase their talent to the public.”

The coalition urged audiences to buy tickets to the thriller “Searching,” starring John Cho as an all-American family man searching for his missing teenage daughter, and to support other movies that feature people of color, such as “Sorry to Bother You” and “BlacKkKlansman.” “Searching” was in limited release this weekend and goes into wide release Aug. 31.

APAMC has agreements with ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC committing them to work to increase diversity on-screen and behind the camera. APAMC members include such organizations as Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, East West Players, Japanese American Citizens League, Media Action Network for Asian Americans, National Federation of Filipino American Associations, OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Visual Communications.

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