By Sonaiya Kelley
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) According to a July study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, of the top 100 films of 2017, only 4.8 percent featured a character of Asian descent with a speaking role. The Success of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ could be a game changer.
Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated “Crazy Rich Asians” dominated the box office this weekend, making history for Asian-American representation and becoming the highest-opening romantic comedy since 2015’s “Trainwreck.”
The first contemporary English-language Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast since “The Joy Luck Club” 25 years ago, “Crazy Rich Asians” grossed $25.2 million over the weekend and a cumulative $34 million since its opening Wednesday, according to figures from measurement firm ComScore. Analysts predicted that the film would collect $29 million through Sunday.
“It’s a well-made movie, and it’s tapped into the zeitgeist culturally as an important touchstone across the domestic marketplace,” said Jeff Goldstein, the studio’s distribution chief.
According to Goldstein, 38 percent of audience members over the weekend were Asian, 41 percent were white, 11 percent were Latino and 6 percent were black. “We started on Wednesday with a 44 percent share for the Asian audience,” he said, which represents a rare trend. “The shift illustrates the broadening of the movie, which will continue as time progresses.”
The movie appeals to everyone, he said: “I think it just looks like fun. The people are handsome and pretty and the locations are exotic. It looks like a nice diversion from life.”
For author and CNN contributor Jeff Yang, whose son Hudson stars on the ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat,” the film marks a sea change for Asian-American representation in mainstream culture.
“Certainly for Asian-American audiences, this is a signal moment for us,” he said. “It really is the first time that we’ve seen in a contemporary setting an all-Asian cast with an Asian-American protagonist light up the screen.