A Conundrum Wrapped In An Enigma: Do Protests Work Or Do We Just Need To Show The Money

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

There's an interesting article I started reading up on the youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily site talking about the recent protests of the film The Goods: Live Hard Sell Hard and whether or not protests really work - or if in the end there's really no market for films that cater to an Asian American audience:

[...] But you may be saying—well, you’re wrong, we need to protest loudly. African Americans and Latinos have done that and that’s why the studios are more likely to think twice before doing something to offend them. Yes, there is truth to that, but that’s only partially the story. It’s not just because they raise a big stink that these groups are further along in the Hollywood system then we are. It’s also because these groups put their money where their mouths are and buy movie tickets en masse. [...]

If there are roughly 15 million Asian Americans and only 10 percent of them consistently bought tickets to Asian American indie films, that would be an audience of roughly 1.5 million. At an average ticket price of $10, that’s a $15 million box office gross just from the Asian American demographic.

That’s significant. That means that even if no one else supported our films except our own community, Hollywood would still take notice and decide that it makes good business sense to greenlight “Asian American-themed” movies in the under $8 million range. That may not seem like much when you hear about movies costing over $100 million, but it’s enough for us to create a niche for ourselves and hopefully build on that and grow. Like African Americans who complained that they weren’t allowed to make anything but the low-budget “ghetto/gangster” or minstrel type films in the ‘90s, we may be plopped into our own genre ghetto, but I’ll happily take that because it’s still a chance for our people to make films, to learn, to grow and eventually break out of our ghetto like African Americans have been doing.

Because right now—there is no market for Asian American films. I’m sorry to burst the bubble of my fellow filmmakers working on their great breakthrough Asian American film, but the reality is–the odds of your project finding success are close to nil.
I have some more thoughts on the topic - but for now - just wanted to send the link over your way.

Thanks Jen