The success of this box office success from "Crazy Rich Asians" and the rave reviews for Netflix's "To All the Boys I Loved Before" are part of an abundance of movies and TV shows in which Asians launch this month, celebrated in the hashtag for social media #AsianAugustus.
It was a joyous experience for Asians to see themselves reflected on the screen in American pop culture, judging by the stream of posts on social media throughout the month.
With a casual timing, Netflix has the Canadian TV series & Kim; added to his streaming service last month. Although the sitcom – about a working class Korean-Canadian family in Toronto – premiered in 2016, it has won fans in recent weeks, partly through social media.
This Friday in cinema films and extend on August 31, is & # 39; Search & # 39 ;, a thriller with John Cho as a father looking for his missing daughter, using her posts on social media and web history, the first mainstream American film in that genre with an Asian – American lead.
In a show of solidarity, "Crazy Rich Asians" director Jon M. Chu announced Wednesday that he and the star of the movie Henry Golding plan to buy a theater for a screening of & # 39; Search & # 39 ;.
"I hope it is Asian August, I think this is the beginning of a new movement," Chu told Reuters this month.
"The audience has to decide If they appear during the opening weekend, it sends a very clear message to the studio's that will be made more, and they are sitting on their desks with films that are not colored green."
The audience appeared before Chu's film, which had large box office numbers in the opening weekend and earned $ 35 million during the first five days – the biggest debut for a romantic comedy since the 2015 Amy Schumer film & # 39; Trainwreck & # 39 ;, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Although Netflix does not release its streaming or viewership data, the broad praise and positive reviews for & # 39; To All the Boys I Loved Before & # 39 ;, come from a large number of viewers, a good indication that the film also resonates with the audience. .
All this is hopefully a sign of progress that Asians in pop culture will no longer be reduced to stereotypes and caricatures.
But it is up to Hollywood executives to acknowledge that these successful and popular projects are no exception but the norm – and stop keeping the myth that films with different casts do not make money at the checkout, especially at international audiences .
This is often the reasoning that is applied to films with black casts, despite a wave of commercially and critically successful films such as & # 39; The Help & # 39 ;, & # 39; Straight Outta Compton & # 39 ;, & # 39; Hidden Figures & # 39 ;, & # 39; Get Out & # 39 ;, & # 39; Girls Trip & # 39 ;, & # 39; Black Panther "among many others.
They are often treated as exceptions, and as a group of UCLA researchers wrote this year after studying the "missed opportunities" of the entertainment industry for diversity, they suggest that "Hollywood leaves substantial revenue on the table."
"The public wants to see diversity on the screen," wrote sociologist UCLA Ana-Christina Ramón. "Our reports have consistently shown that diversity is being sold, but the TV and film product continues to fall short, so the public remains starved for more representation on the screen that reflects the world they see in their daily lives."
The phenomenon #AsianAugust is a promising sign, with a series of three-dimensional images of Asians with complex background stories and where the characters lead their lives and wrestle with a wide range of experiences, their heritage being only part of the story.
For example: "For all the guys I love" is a smart and sharp romantic comedy and coming-of-age story that happens to be about an Asian-American girl. The protagonist, Lara Jean, makes a number of free universal experiences, which deal with the boys she likes, peers who are mean to her and many other teenage dramas.
And Hollywood might get the message: Warner Bros. would reportedly develop a sequel to "Crazy Rich Asians & # 39;
Hopefully this wave of projects will bring in other films and television shows that tell even more original stories about Asians and Asian-Americans, because real progress will come when a whole month of new films and TV series about Asians is not unusual or remarkable – it's just normal.