Sometimes money isn’t everything.
In the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the producers of “Crazy Rich Asians” explained why they turned down a “gigantic payday” from Netflix to instead make their film with Warner Bros., a traditional Hollywood studio.
The reason is simple — the book’s writer, Kevin Kwan, and director, Jon M. Chu, wanted to make sure that audiences initially encountered their film, the first to feature an all-westernized Asian cast since 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club,” in theaters, not at home.
“Jon and I both felt this sense of purpose,” Kwan told the magazine. “We needed this to be an old-fashioned cinematic experience, not for fans to sit in front of a TV and just press a button.”
Kwan and Chu reiterated the point in an interview with Vulture, saying that getting the film into multiplexes was more important than a huge check.
“If it came down to money, what are we actually trying to do here?” Chu told the website. “Taking it to the theater, it’s a symbol that a Hollywood studio system thinks it has value, and we were all in a position in our careers where we didn’t need the money anyway.”
The director, whose past credits include “Step Up 3D” and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” said going with a traditional studio also made sure they were both more invested in making sure the film got a strong promotional push.
“It put us emotionally all in and upped the stakes,” he said. “Without that, we wouldn’t be doing this marketing push. It would just be on the front page of Netflix or wherever it could end up.”
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