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Las Vegas Asian-American community says 'Crazy Rich Asians' shows representation matters

Posted at 11:27 PM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 10:58:31-04

Hollywood is rolling out its first studio film in 25 years Wednesday featuring an all-Asian cast. 

Members of the Asian-American community in Las Vegas packed Eclipse Theater in downtown Las Vegas for a sold-out advance screening of "Crazy Rich Asians" Tuesday night.

The hype surrounding the movie Crazy Rich Asians goes deeper than just box office buzz. 

For a lot of Asian-Americans it represents an important move toward more representation in film and pop culture. 

The movie trailer plays out like just about every other romantic comedy you've ever seen, but there are major differences: The entire cast is Asian. The storyline is based on a best-selling book by an Asian-American author, and it has an Asian-American director. 

"The director actually turned down a huge deal from Netflix just so that this movie could be theatrically released to prove that people will actually come out and support an all Asian-American movie," said Catherine Ho.

Ho attended an advance screening that brought in far more people than expected at the Eclipse Theater in downtown Las Vegas.

Annie Evans, founder of the Miss Asian North America Pageant, had planned to buy out just a single theater for a group, but it sold out quickly just by word of mouth. 

"I realized the intensity of this movie and long story short we bought three theaters for tonight," Evans said.

While Asians are one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S., media hasn't always reflected this with few multi-dimensional roles for Asian actors.

"So it's really refreshing to see these Asian-American actors not portraying a kung fu artist or the geeky nerd," Ho said.

Sonny Vinuya is the president of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas.

"I hope it's a trend of things to come for Asians," he said. 

"Society is changing. The community is changing. We are all evolving," said Evans.  

"When I was growing up there was only Connie Chung. Love her to death, but there wasn't a lot to be seen."