What happened to "Aloha?"

AC Team

June 1, 2015

ALOHA POSTERAfter reading the reviews, a few of us still bravely ventured out on Monday, after the opening weekend curious to see what all the bashing and yammering was all about.

We sat in a theater that was unexpectedly full of moviegoers who also bought tickets to see "Aloha."

Surprise - We thought the movie was entertaining. So that puts us in RottenTomatoes' 40% positive audience score and 18% positive critics ratings. Despite some reviewers saying the film was hard to follow, we got it, including the 'surprise' twist at the end.

Ok, we like Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, and John Krasinski, but would have loved to see Asian faces on the screen in lead roles. Come on - even just one! (Sigh) The fact that Cameron Crowe intended one of his lead characters to be half-Asian in his script - that was promising - but that was only on paper. Not enough.

So, what happened? A perfect storm of critics, revealing email leaks from the Sony hack, and the unfortunate casting of Emma Stone to play a half Asian character, and in Hawaii no-less, a land where the majority population is comprised of Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Asian Pacific Islanders.

Unfortunate because Emma Stone is one of the hottest bankable actresses in Hollywood today, but she was cast in a no-win role that is an easy target to illustrate the continuing underrepresentation of Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander actors in leading roles in Hollywood movies.

Just think of the missed opportunities to cast actors from diverse ethnic backgrounds in Hollywood movies. Latinos, for example, buy at least 20% of the opening-weekend audience for the highest-grossing summer movies according to data compiled by Nielsen and Univision. Asians, comprise 7% of frequent U.S. moviegoers in 2013 according to the MPAA. Internationally, and specifically in China, the potential market is huge. 

Related:

AsianConnections: December 30, 2014 Still Few Leading Roles for Asian Actors in Hollywood Movies - But the Star is Rising for Randal Park and Miyavi

MarketWatch's Assistant Managing Editor Michelle Coffey reports on emails revealed from the Sony hack between Sony's Amy Pascal and filmmaker Cameron Crowe, the scathing reviews, and on the 'whitewashed' casting.