Salary Survey Extra: Coming soon to a theater near you

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Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Now that Crazy Rich Asians was the surprise blockbuster of 2018, which film will be coming soon to theater to capitalize on its success?Today is Valentine’s Day, and what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by reporting on the response to our Salary Survey question about the surprise romantic comedy blockbuster of 2018? Yes, this post is drawn from another of those questions that we stick at the end of the Salary Survey to lighten the mood and provide fodder for the occasional wacky Salary Survey report.

Every year there is at least one Hollywood movie that “comes out of nowhere,” as they say, and winds up conquering the box office and becoming one of the biggest hits of the moviegoing year. The hands-down biggest surprise of 2018, in that respect, was the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, adapted from the same-titled novel by Singaporean American author Kevin Kwan.

The movie version, directed by Jon M. Chu and starring Constance Wu and Henry Golding, was made for just $30 million, which is about how much money you have spend on, say, Robert Downey Jr. alone for a single Marvel Comics blockbuster. Crazy Rich Asians sold $174 million worth of tickets in the United States, and a further $64 million worth of tickets in other countries.

That’s the kind of profit margin that makes your average Hollywood producer sit up and take notice, and Hollywood loves to see a magic formula in action and then try to make the magic happen all over again. Since there will definitely be a Crazy Rich Asians franchise, and since certified IT professionals are at least as smart as Hollywood movie moguls, we asked survey respondents where the next movie should take place.

So what’s going to be “coming soon” before we know it? Will it be a heaping helping of everything that audiences like the first time? Will the series shift to another exotic locale and culture? Will the franchise be cross-pollinated with other franchises that have been successful in the past? Here’s what we learned:

Q:  Now that Crazy Rich Asians is a huge blockbuster hit the next film in the franchise should be set in:

Come on. It’s either gonna be More Crazy Rich Asians or Crazier Richer Asians. — 41.5 percent
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (Crazy Rich Superheroes; working title: Iron Man 4) — 13.7 percent
The Harry Potter series (Crazy Rich Wiz Kids: The Draco Chronicles) — 10.9 percent
Antarctica (Definitely Crazy but Not Rich Research Team Members Who Unwisely Thaw Out a Frozen Alien Vessel) — 8.9 percent
Australia (Crazy Rich Blokes and Sheilas) — 8.7 percent
The Roman province of Judea under Pontius Pilate as Envisioned by Monty Python (Kwazy Wich Womans and Jews) — 7  percent
The Communist Party (Crazy Rich Apparatchiks) — 4.8 percent
The Regency (Crazy Rich White Dudes and the Sassily Independent Women Who Outwardly Reject Everything They Stand For, But Secretly Desire to Marry Them: A Jane Austen Tale) — 4.5 percent

Well, there’s definitely a clubhouse favorite. The laziest form of rejiggering a magic formula, of course, is to not rejigger it all: Just do the same thing, with the same actors, and the (mostly) same plot, call it Part 2, and wait for the money to roll in. Hollywood is generally about as risk-averse as a senior citizen crossing the street, so it certainly makes sense.

On the other hand, sometimes the thinking is not to mess with the first film’s perfect ending, and sequels to famous romantic comedies or romantic dramas often veer off in a bold (and typically cheaper) new direction. Think about the distinct differences between, say, Dirty Dancing and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

One particularly important rule in retreading commercially sacred ground is to not wait around so long that nobody remembers, “Oh, yeah, that first movie was awesome.” So whatever happens next, we’ll probably all find out about it either this year or next.

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CertMag Staff

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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