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Movie "Skyscraper" a Flop but "Crazy Rich Asians" a Hit? Wait, not so fast!

August 27, 2018

 

This Forbes article caught my eye: "Surprise! Why Dwayne Johnson's 'Skyscraper' Is Actually A Box Office Hit" 

 

The movie "Skyscraper" is set in Hong Kong, and while it features a popular American headliner, Dwayne Johnson, it also features many Asian characters. This is believed to be one of the contributing reasons the movie made such a lackluster showing in the U.S.

 

But wait… what about "Crazy Rich Asians", where the whole cast is Asian and is set in Singapore? That movie is a big hit!

 

Well, here’s the deal: "Skyscraper" was a flop in the US at $66 Million to date, but is very popular abroad ($225 Million) and especially in China, with sales of $97 Million.

 

The Forbes article makes the point that, “today a film will be declared a success or failure based only on the opening weekend here in the U.S. Somehow, the more impressive earnings in the international market are ignored.”

 

Definitely true in the case of "Skyscraper". But true also in the case of "Crazy Rich Asians": This was a terrific success in the US with $76 Million in 12 days, but so far not so much abroad, and it’s not even clear if it will launch in China at all. In fact, the Chinese public who were able to see the movie are not so enthusiastic, saying it’s a Hollywood version of Asia. This article ("Chinese moviegoers think "Crazy Rich Asians" is really not that Asian") points out that, “It looks like a film about Asians, but the spirit of it is American. The leading actress is an American Born Chinese. The story is about how Asians look in the eyes of the Americans.”

 

But beyond any discussion of whether these movies are good or bad, a true or artificial representation of Asians, and regardless of one’s views and cinematic preferences, my point is that "Crazy Rich Asians" is being declared a blockbuster, without consideration of what the movie’s fate is or will be abroad. So in both cases, what the American public thinks is really all that counts, with blatant disregard for the opinions of the rest of the world.

 

I believe this is exactly the problem the U.S. is facing with international trade and ultimately its economic survival. Economic progress and success is being measured on the wrong yardstick, remaining blind to the evolving reality of the global economic landscape.

 

The author of the Forbes article goes on to say that, “…those who follow Hollywood have to remember that in many instances we (the U.S.) are but one of many worldwide territories.” In my opinion, the same holds true for the U.S. market, it is “but one of many worldwide territories.”

 

We’re not alone anymore, and we can’t act like it.

 

 

 

 

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