Chinese filmgoers mixed over Hollywood watershed 'Crazy Rich Asians'

By AFP - Global Times Source:AFP-Global Times Published: 2018/8/16 19:43:40

Hollywood watershed: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

The cast of Crazy Rich Asians participate in a BUILD Series event in New York on Tuesday. Photo: IC

Rich, dashing man sweeps sweet young girl off her feet. It's the fantasy to launch a thousand love stories, but Hollywood's latest rom-com oozes more than sentimental escapism.

Crazy Rich Asians, a two-hour celebration of fabulous wealth, stunning clothes and idealized love, complete with heroine who has to out-fox her beau's imperious mother and vicious ex-girlfriend, is a faithful adaptation of the international bestseller by Singapore-American author Kevin Kwan.

More importantly it's the first Hollywood movie in a quarter of a century to feature an majority-Asian cast - a feat not matched since The Joy Luck Club in 1993 and one driving frenzied publicity in the world of US entertainment.

It comes a year after The Big Sick made Kumail Nanjiani Hollywood's first Pakistani-born rom-com hero and months after Black Panther became the third highest-grossing motion picture of all time in North America.

Kwan turned down a "gigantic" pay-offer from Netflix, to plop for Warner Bros Pictures and a cinematic general release, looking to send a message and put down a marker for Asian-led box-office receipts.

A massive publicity blitz appears to be working. The Hollywood Reporter expects the movie to make at least $28 million at the box office over the first five days in North America, up from $20 million several weeks ago.

Director Jon Chu wants the movie to convince Hollywood bosses that there's plenty of money to be made from Asian-led projects, opening the door to greater representation.

"That we are worth that time, we are worth that energy and worth that effort," he told Fox News.

"The cinematic experience is unparalleled in that kind of context, of putting it in the museum, in the glass box and say this is special."

Filmed on location in Malaysia and Singapore, with a reported budget of $30 million, its cast is almost entirely Asian, Asian-American and Asian diaspora.

Chinese response

"This movie is like the US version of [Chinese film franchise] Tiny Times - the same bragging about rich life and illogical romances," Ting Li, a New York-based Chinese moviegoer who watched the film on Wednesday told the Global Times.

Many overseas Chinese have organized movie-watching events on overseas social media platforms so they can go watch the film together, Li noted.

Some Chinese moviegoers who have watched the film took to Chinese review platform Douban to discuss the film. The film currently holds a 7.4/10 on the platform from 161 reviews.

"The film is hilarious and all the background music are former hit Chinese songs making me feel like I was in a 99 Ranch Market [a California-based Chinese market]. However, the film is actually about rich guys instead of a story about Asians - we all misunderstood it," wrote Douban user Yangcong Xixione in one of the platform's most-liked reviews.

"The movie tries to change stereotypes ( such as a lack of charisma) about Asians (especially Chinese) by giving the story a more Westernized background (Singapore), in this sense the movie is a success," commented another Douban reviewer Rose on Lonely Planet.

Newspaper headline: Hollywood watershed: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’


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