08/22/2018

When We Saw “Crazy Rich Asians”

Forget sequels, superheroes, and sharks: “Crazy Rich Asians” has dominated the summer movie conversation. It’s not only the first major studio film with an all-Asian cast in over 25 years, but it’s also a genuinely delightful romantic comedy.

Recently, the AKA team members who saw “Crazy Rich Asians” on opening weekend sat down to discuss what they thought.

Mark Blankenship, Integrated Content and Community Director: I keep hearing about sold out screenings. When you saw “Crazy Rich Asians”, was the theater crowded?

Alex Chang, Marketing and Partnerships Assistant: I went on a Friday night, and it was packed.

Nadgia Dixon, Director of Studio Operations: My theater was sold out for an afternoon showing.

Jon Vertuno, Sales and Ticketing Specialist: I went Sunday at 10 in the morning, and it was completely sold out.

Jacob Matsumiya, Client Services Account Director: I tried to see it, but it was sold out. And so were the next two showings at that theater and the three other theaters I looked at.

Mark: Did you happen to notice who else was in the audience?

Jacob: The theater I was at was full of Asians.

Alex: There were so many Asians in the theater where I was watching it, which was really cool.

Flora Pei, Social Media Supervisor: I’ve seen it twice, and both times, Asian-Americans weren’t a huge part of the audience.

Jon: I love that you saw it twice.

Flora: Yeah! And the second time, I went with Jana. And it was specifically rewarding for me that the two times I went, there weren’t a lot of Asian people in the audience. It was really gratifying to hear people of various backgrounds all laughing and gasping at the same moments that I was. We were all sharing this story.

Alex: The scene when they’re on the airplane – people were gasping. We were all witnessing it together and feeling it together.

Jon: And comedies are always so much more fun with people. That shared laughter. I really wanted to go opening weekend and share the experience. It’s a universal story, and it’s exciting to see it through something other than a white lens.

Mark: Now that you’ve seen it, did you like it?

Flora: I was relieved that it was a really good movie!

Mark: Relieved in what way?

Flora: When I first saw the trailer, I thought, “Oh, it’s really exciting that this is an all-Asian cast. But it would really suck if this doesn’t turn out as well as I hoped it would.” And I thought it was just a great romantic comedy, period.

Alex: The story, for me, was fairly predictable, but it was so cool seeing something different happening for Asian characters.

Flora: For once we’re not playing stereotypes!

Alex: Right. We’re not the best friends. We’re not fighting anybody. We’re the protagonists. And Nick, the male protagonist, stood out to me, because with him, you could see the struggles between being an Asian and being an Asian-American. That’s something I could really relate to.

Flora: It’s a clash of cultures, even though they’re all Asian.

Mark: Yes! Because “Asian” is not some monolithic word. It’s not like there’s one way a person can be Asian or Asian-American.

Flora: Exactly.

Mark: Flora, you also mentioned that the movie works as entertainment. Do other people agree?

Jon: Absolutely, yes! I loved the character that Awkwafina played. By the end, I wanted her to be my best friend.

Jana Goldman, Senior Digital Account Manager: I thought it was beautifully shot, and I thought the characters were really strong. It was just such a good movie, and I always love seeing a book become a movie. [The film is based on Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel of the same name. – Ed.]

Nadgia: The fashions in the movie were amazing. The actors were all beautiful. It’s one of those things that let you indulge in your fantasies for your own life.

Jana: Everything was so beautiful. And I thought it was really smart the way they sometimes coordinated the costumes and the settings. Little things like that made it feel really elevated.

Nadgia: I watched it and felt like, “The most beautiful people are in Singapore. The most delicious food. The most wonderful delights. I need to go there and find my husband like she did. Done.”