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An Asian-American screenwriter I recently met mentioned she’d sold a screenplay whose lead characters are Asian, and the storyline was inspired by a holiday in Taiwan. She’d finished it earlier in the year, but her manager advised her not to take it out to the studios until after the premiere of Crazy Rich Asians in August. If the movie did well, studios would be way more interested. If the movie tanked, no one would want her script anyway, and they’d have to wait (presumably until the fumes of Crazy Rich Asians’ failure faded) before taking it out.
CRA did gangbusters at the box office, and she sold her screenplay that month to a major studio.
I’ve since heard from network development executives and writers that multiple Asian-centric TV and film projects have been bought or are being developed in the wake of CRA’s success, from Jessica Gao’s Lazy Rich Asians at ABC to Lillian Yu’s feature script Singles Day at New Line. All because CRA did what the industry long thought was impossible: get mainstream audiences to show up (and pay good money) for a movie about … Asians.