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Hmm: “Asians” Removed from “Crazy Rich Asians” Movie Translations

Oct 03, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians is a Cinderella romantic comedy between two people of different classes.  Based of Kevin Kwan's 2013 comedic novel, it has become the top-grossing romantic comedy in 10 years.  It is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a whopping 92%.  Its budget of $30 million has now grossed over $200 million globally.

It is also a source of pride for many people of Asian descent.

The film initially faced some resistance from Hollywood.  Executives wondered: Can an all Asian cast become a blockbuster?  Will an all Asian cast make its money back?

In fact, early producers interested in the project wanted to whitewash the role of heroine Rachel Chu by casting a white actress.  In response, the author optioned the film rights for just $1 in exchange for more creative control.

It paid off.  Hollywood learned that an all Asian cast can carry a movie.  That non-white actors can be represented.  Perhaps there is more that brings our world together than tears us apart?  Perhaps people aren’t as divided as some politicians make us believe?  Perhaps, through a simple romantic comedy, can it be: A vision of hope for humanity?  Perhaps.

In Germany, the titled is translated as Crazy Rich - the word Asians is removed. In Italy it's Crazy & Rich.  In Brazil, Podres de Ricos (Spoiled Rich).  Latin America: Locamente millonarios (Madly Millionaires).

So why remove Asians?  

To their defense, in most countries outside of the US, “Asian” is a word that applies to the middle east as well.  Its broad demographic would be confusing.  The word “Asians” is also non-specific, and to some is seen as glossing over differences within the Asian community by referring everyone as “Asian.”  

But if you are going to remove Asian, why not replace it with a more specific word?  Crazy Rich Singaporeans?

In countries like Japan or Singapore, where there are frequently all Asian casts carrying movies, the marketing staff may wish to target audiences with different keywords.

But it seems in most cases some international executives thought the word “Asians” would deter people from watching it… bringing us full circle indeed.

As an addendum, we made a tables of some of our findings below.

Asian Removal

Latin America: Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Etc.

Locamente millonarios (Madly Millionaires)

Brazil

Podres de Ricos (Spoiled Rich)

Germany

Crazy Rich

Italy

Crazy & Rich

Lithuania

Pasakiskai turtingi (Fabulously rich)

Asian Power

Egypt, France, Spain, USA

Crazy Rich Asians

Greece

Τρελοί, πλούσιοι Ασιάτες (Crazy, Rich Asians)

Poland

Bajecznie bogaci Azjaci (Fabulously Rich Asians)

Russia

Безумно богатые азиаты (Insanely Rich Asians)

Asian Countries

Hong Kong, Singapore (Mandarin title)

Wo de chao hao nan you (My Super Good Boyfriend)

Japan (English title)

Crazy Rich!

Japan

Kureiji Ricchi! (Crazy Rich!)


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