Members and guests of the Asian American Culture Club (AACC) gathered to watch a screening of ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ and discuss the roles of Asian Americans in the film industry on Saturday October 16. a discussion led by Time editor Janice Min (P Tate Sheehy ’24 and Will Sheehy ’22) and Shang-Chi media consultant Jeff Yang.
AACC chief Chazzy Cho ’25 said the film allows students to have a deeper conversation about the roles of Asian Americans in Hollywood.
“With 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 perform on screen,” Cho said. .
Featuring a predominantly Asian cast, the film was seen as a risk by many, including Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who called the release an experiment during a Disney Q3 earnings call. However, AACC frontman Lauren Park ’25 said she enjoyed seeing the film break the mold of what Asian Americans are supposed to do in Hollywood.
“What I enjoyed most about the film was seeing Asian characters portrayed as something other than the usual stereotypes,” Park said. “The characters weren’t portrayed as cheesy or with heavy accents. Seeing Asian men perform [both] the movie’s hero and villain were inspiring to watch and even made me feel proud.
The first Disney film to open exclusively in theaters since the pandemic began, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” grossed an estimated $71.4 million over Labor Day weekend alone. Middle school dean Karen Fukushima said she was not surprised by the film’s success.
“I think it’s time there was an Asian American superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Fukushima said. “There’s a long history of successful martial arts films 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 facing minority films in Hollywood. Yang said there was increased pressure on minority films to succeed so studios would continue to pour money into them.
“It’s not that there won’t be more Asian-American movies if one movie doesn’t work, but you can’t actually have the budget, the freedom to choose whoever you want,” Yang said. “You won’t be able to do things that take you to different areas of the story.”
Park said she considers this an unacceptable double standard in Hollywood.
“If this standard applied to everyone, does that mean that if a movie with white actors did poorly, they would stop making movies with white actors? Probably not,” Park said. thinks Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings moved Hollywood away from that harsh reality and closer to an inclusive reality of accurate representation of all cultures and backgrounds.”