Asians in movies attract increasing numbers of Asians into US cinemas

World Today

Asians in movies attract increasing numbers of Asians into US cinemas

Asian-Americans love movies. A new report shows they go to the cinema, per-capita, more often than almost any other group in the U.S.

CGTN’s May Lee reports that Hollywood is taking notice of the rapid growth in Asian filmgoers.

Slowly but surely Hollywood is making progress with better representation. Just in the past year, some of the biggest films with huge box office receipts featured women and people of color.

Black Panther, with its mostly black cast, has so far grossed 1.3 billion dollars worldwide since its release in February.

But it’s not just what’s happening in the movies that is changing. The makeup of movie audiences is also becoming more diverse.

According to a recent report by the Motion Picture Association of America, Hispanic-Latino filmgoers went to see movies the most often in 2017, an average of 4.5 times per capita.

But Asian-Americans are a close second. They headed to theaters 4.3 times. African-Americans ranked third at 3.4 and Caucasians, 3.2 times.

Although the Asian population here in the U.S. is still small at 6 percent, compared to 18 percent for Latinos and 12 percent for African Americans, the movie-going frequency of Asians is a trend that Hollywood can’t ignore, especially since Asians are the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S. 

Combine that with the fact that younger people, which the U.S. Census Bureau found are the most diverse generation, are more likely to go to the movies than Americans over 40. Those in the 18-to-24-year-old age group see movies an average 6.5 times a year.

Vince Amalfi, vice president of Ad Sales at Screenvision Media says, “With studios turning out blockbuster after blockbuster year after year, it seems that, for the last couple of years, we’re seeing a much younger audience come to the movies. And therefore, really across all ethnic groups, they still want to escape, they still want to see movies as being a great experience and with these 200 million dollar movies that are being made, the only place to see it is on the big screen.”

The MPAA report also found the most popular movie among Asian filmgoers in 2017 was “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” The co-star of the blockbuster hit is Filipino actor Jacob Batalon.

Legendary actor George Takei believes increased representation is a must, but he also calls on the Asian community to support fellow Asians when they do get the spotlight.

“I go see an August Wilson, African American playwright play, he writes about an African-American family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I look around the audience, you see a dominate African-American presence. I see a Philip Kan Gotanda or a David Henry Hwang play, I look around and just a sprinkling of Asian faces. We as a community, if we see David Henry Hwang’s play being done with an Asian-American cast, maybe an Asian-American director, we need to be visibly present there.”

Asians will get the chance to support an all-Asian movie this August when the much anticipated bestselling book turned movie, “Crazy Rich Asians” comes out. A slew of big names star in the film, including Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh, and it’s directed by Chinese American John Chu.

There’s a lot of buzz about the movie, and for Asian audiences, “Crazy Rich Asians” might just make them even crazier movie-goers.