crazy rich asians tops american box office

Crazy good news.

by Lael Hines
20 August 2018, 3:54pm

Still from Crazy Rich Asians trailer

Crazy Rich Asians, directed by Jon M Chu and starring Henry Golding, Awkwafina and Constance Wu, is the first film since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club to feature an all-Asian American cast. Since its release five days ago, the film has topped US box offices, with Warner Brothers estimating earnings of $25.2m (roughly £19.7m) over the opening weekend and $34m (£26.6m) in total, dispelling any tired notions that successful films require white protagonists.

In the past week, social media has filled with the sound of adulation and positive reviews, holding a 93% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, which lambasts tropes and stereotypes about Asian American characters upheld in film for so long, features only one scene involving white actors. In it, the white staff at an expensive hotel suggest that lead character Nick’s wealthy Singaporean-Chinese family find a place to stay in Chinatown, unable to imagine that an Asian family could afford a room in such an opulent hotel.

Excited by the film, high-profile Asian-Americans including Harry Shum, Teresa Hsiao, Nino Llanera and Kina Grannis have bought out movie theatres across the US so that those can’t afford the tickets can watch the film for free. Inspired by an active community of movie sharing and inclusive watching, the movement is reminiscent of when musicians and actors like Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott and Octavia Spencer bought out theatres to host free screenings of Black Panther, to ensure young, black kids who might not otherwise be able to watch the film were able to.

This democratic movement criticises exclusivity and alienation, both racially and economically. In contrast, Kevin Spacey’s newest film Billionaire Boys Club made only £98 on its opening day last week, proving that viewers care about the intentions and political praxis of both the people on and behind the screen. You can read all the things that earned more than it here.

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