(CBS) — Romantic comedywas No. 1 at the weekend box office in North America, raking in an estimated $34 million in ticket sales since Wednesday’s opening. The movie is being celebrated as a turning point for Asian-American representation in Hollywood.
It’s been a quarter century since the last time a nearly all-Asian cast starred in a Hollywood studio film – 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club,” reports CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers.
“Crazy Rich Asians” may not be the solution to all of Hollywood’s diversity problems, but fans like David Chen believe it can help.
“I asked myself like, well, what am I doing to further the cause of diversity and more representation on screen?” Chen said. He is one of several people who have bought out showings – even entire cinemas – to get people to see the film. He said he was inspired by the movie’s director, Jon M. Chu, who passed on a big payday with Netflix to get “Crazy Rich Asians” in theaters.
“We didn’t need the money, we didn’t – we had an agenda to get this to the most eyeballs, but – but at a place that it could affect the most people,” Chu said.
Hollywood has struggled with Asian-American representation. The industry has recently been ridiculed for casting white actors in roles seemingly intended for Asian actors.
“After a while, I think Hollywood got scared,” HuffPost Asian Voices editor Kimberly Yam said.
In a thread of widely shared tweets, she described the movie’s emotional impact after growing up Asian-American.
You’re 8 years old.
Your 3rd grade class orders chinese food & your father delivers it. You are so excited to see your pops in school. He’s your hero. But apparently other kids don’t think he’s so cool. They laugh at him and mimic his accent. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore. pic.twitter.com/6vW9DXZK6x
— Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018
“There were just so many different types of Asians,” Yam said of “Crazy Rich Asians.” “We were just ourselves. Authentically Asian. … For someone who has never seen that, that meant a lot.”
While Yam said the film does sacrifice some cultural accuracy, she said the film makes up for it in the name of fun.
“Hopefully more stories will be made of different experiences, both in the Asian-American community along with other minorities,” she said.
Earlier this summer, box office experts predicted “Crazy Rich Asians” would open with just half of the estimated $34 million the movie’s made in its first five days. The film is helping raise the success of Hollywood’s summer season. Revenue is up more than 12 percent over last summer.