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When In the Heights premieres June 11, the Warner Bros. adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical is poised to become a long-awaited cultural touchstone for an underserved audience, and a diverse coalition of industry organizations has assembled to ensure that it’s not the last.
Asian and Pacific Islander nonprofit collective Gold House is spinning off its successful Gold Open movement, which since 2017 has organized theater buyouts and other movie ticket drives to boost Asian films’ performance at the box office, to support Latino movies as well. #LatinxGoldOpen, presented in partnership with the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, is an ongoing campaign that will connect and work through an ever-solidifying network of influencers from the community to promote impending premieres, starting with Heights, and buy movie tickets en masse. More than 80 individuals and organizations have already committed to supporting #LatinxGoldOpen, including Eugenio Derbez, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, Gemma Chan and Simu Liu, as well as the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, the African American Film Critics Association, Define American and The Blackhouse Foundation.
“This partnership is a strong example of multicultural organizations coming together to support one cause, amplifying and supporting authentic stories and diverse talent in the media and proving that there is a worldwide audience for them,” NALIP executive director Benjamin Lopez said in a statement.
Opening weekend success is particularly critical to movies considered by studios to be “risky,” an assumption attached to films from and featuring people from marginalized backgrounds. According to the 2021 UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report, among the top 200 theatrical and streaming movies last year, Latinos comprised just 5.4 percent of lead characters, 2.7 percent of directors and 3.2 percent of writers — the mostly disproportionately underrepresented demographic in Hollywood compared to their share of the real-world population. Meanwhile, the community already accounts for 23 percent of movie ticket sales and $1.3 trillion in overall consumer spending.
“In the Heights does an amazing job highlighting the Afro-Latinx experience in America and provides Hollywood with much-needed, proper intersectional diverse representation,” Zoe Saldana and her Cinestar partners Cisely and Mariel Saldana said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to join the #LatinxGoldOpen movement to celebrate our beautiful Latinx community so we can ensure more projects like In the Heights are made.”
Gold Open has previously partnered with other communities to support films; in 2019 it teamed with Blackhouse and CAPE, in addition to other partners, to give the MGM and Warners’ YA adaptation The Sun Is Also a Star, which was about a Black-Asian interracial romance, a #BlackandGoldOpen. In the Heights is a fitting kickoff to the Asian-Latino alliance, as the film is directed by Jon M. Chu, whose Crazy Rich Asians stands as Gold Open’s most high-profile success, ushering in an unprecedented new chapter for Asian American representation in the media. “I remember how profound of an impact Crazy Rich Asians had on the fashion world when we hosted its very first New York screening — and how it forever changed Hollywood and reshaped the world’s perceptions of Asians and Pacific Islanders,” designer Prabal Gurung tells The Hollywood Reporter. “So from our family to the Latinx community: We are here, we are staying and we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder.”
Adds Daniel Dae Kim: “Partnerships like this one are a substantive way to send the message that we see and support one another’s communities. From our halmeonis to our abuelas, and our many languages from many countries, we hope to create a fuller, more complete narrative of what it means to be American.”
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