Members and guests of the Asian American Culture Club (AACC) gathered to watch a screening of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings” and discuss the role of Asian Americans in the film industry on Saturday October 16. The event featured a panel discussion led by Time Contributing Editor-in-Chief Janice Min (P Tate Sheehy ’24 and Will Sheehy ’22) and Shang-Chi media consultant Jeff Yang.
AACC leader Chazzy Cho ’25 said the film gave students a more in-depth conversation about the roles of Asian Americans in Hollywood.
“Shang-Chi being such a hit in the film industry, it was the perfect opportunity to talk about Asian American issues and share the experience of being able to see an Asian actor on screen,” Cho said.
Starring a predominantly Asian cast, the film was viewed as a risk by many, including Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who called the exit an experience during a Disney Q3 earnings call. However, AACC chief Lauren Park ’25 said she enjoys watching the film break the mold of what Asian Americans are supposed to do in Hollywood.
“What I liked the most about the movie was seeing Asian characters portrayed as something other than the usual stereotypes,” Park said. “The characters weren’t portrayed as old-fashioned or with heavy accents. See asian men play [both] the hero and villain of the film was inspiring to see and even gave me a sense of pride. “
The first Disney movie to open exclusively in theaters since the start of the pandemic, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” grossed around $ 71.4 million for Labor Day weekend alone. Middle school dean Karen Fukushima said she wasn’t surprised at the film’s success.
“I think it’s high time there was an Asian American superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Fukushima said. “There is a long history of successful martial arts movies in Asia, and Shang-Chi adds so much more to the genre and brings more Asian American representation to Hollywood.”
After the film, Min and Yang discussed the challenges minority films face in Hollywood. Yang said there was increased pressure on minority films to be successful so studios would continue to invest money in them.
“It’s not that there won’t be more Asian-American films if a film doesn’t work, but you won’t actually be able to have the budget, the freedom to launch whoever you want,” Yang said. “You won’t be able to do things that take you to different areas of history. “
Park said she sees this as an unacceptable double standard in Hollywood.
“If this standard applied to everyone, does that mean that if a movie with white actors performed poorly, they would stop making movies with white actors? Probably not, ”Park said. “I think Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings took Hollywood a long way from that harsh reality and moved closer to an inclusive reality of accurately representing all cultures and backgrounds.”