Believe it or not – but there are two films with Asian leads that are currently in Hollywood’s top 10 domestic earners this week. This is unprecedented because both Jon M Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians and Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching don’t seem to be in a mood to slow down any time soon.
Starring Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh among an all-Asian cast, Chu’s film has already grossed close to $140 million domestically. The worldwide numbers are even more impressive at $460 million – which makes it the highest for its kind.
Crazy Rich Asians, as the name suggests, follows the story of an uber-rich Singapore family, getting ready to meet the heir’s Asian-American girlfriend. Hitting the sweet spot between showcasing the rich lifestyle and a sincere romance, Chu’s film toppled Tom Cruise and the latest Pixar release, on its way to the top. Chu has previously directed films from the Now You See Me and Step Up franchise, along with two non-fiction films around Justin Bieber.
Andhra Pradesh-based Chaganty, on the other hand, is tasting success with his first feature-length directorial venture. Searching, starring John Cho (of Harold & Kumar and Star Trek fame), follows the story of a father searching for his missing daughter. Taking place entirely on screens of all kinds (like mobiles, iPad, CCTV, TV screens) – the film has grossed a reported $12 million on a budget that is around the $1 million-mark.
These two films and their huge profits is the cherry on top of a summer, where films like Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Jurassic World 2 and Incredibles 2 are the sundae. In a year where Black Panther crossed the billion dollar-mark with elan and looking at sheer numbers of these two films with Asian leads (along with Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before which has also been a rollicking success!) – it seems like Hollywood is finally ready for inclusive storytelling. And also, the efforts to take matters of representation seriously are now tangible.