Crazy Rich Asians Should Set A New Trend
Will Hollywood begin to produce more Asian-themed films and more substantive roles with Asian characters, than it has in the past?
(by AM staff)
UPDATE: Crazy Rich Asians is now the highest-grossing romantic comedy in the United States in the last 10 years. The latest estimates by Box Office Mojo puts the total at over $165 million, so far.
It has taken Hollywood twenty-five years to produce a nationwide-released film with a majority Asian cast. And given the tremendous success of Crazy Rich Asians, one must ask, “What the hell took so long?” The romantic comedy, based on a 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, debuted at number 1, and brought in an estimated $25 million dollars at the box office, in its first weekend.
Hollywood hasn’t produced a film like this since 1993, with the release of The Joy Luck Club, which also featured a predominately Asian cast. That film was also a success, raking in over $30 million dollars with a budget of only $10 million.
With Crazy Rich Asians’ considerable financial success, as well as its rave reviews – currently over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes – might this be a turning point for Asian actors and actresses in Hollywood? Will Hollywood begin to produce more Asian-themed films and more substantive roles with Asian characters, than it has in the past? Is this the moment when Hollywood begins to cast Asians for roles written (or roles that should have been written) for Asians?
Things are, indeed, improving. Slowly. For example, Asian females received 7% of all speaking roles in the top films of 2017, up from 6% in 2016. That’s encouraging. But Hollywood moves at a glacial pace when it comes to proper onscreen representation of minority groups.
But, the success of films like Crazy Rich Asians certainly makes progress possible. And we can only hope it continues. After all, #RepresentationMatters!