Chinese Rom-com Leads to Seattle Property Boom
2013 Seattle-set smash hit 'Finding Mr. Right' struck a chord with younger, wealthier Chinese
Things are getting restless in Seattle. At least when it comes to property.
Chinese buyers are snapping up a third of all houses worth more than $1 million in Seattle and its suburbs, and one of the reasons behind the surge is record-breaking romantic comedy Finding Mr. Right, reported The New York Times on Monday.
The Times said that Chinese buyers are attracted by Seattle's schools, the clean air, the existing Chinese population and, most intriguingly, by a hit movie that struck a chord with younger Chinese.
Xue Xiaolu's Finding Mr. Right is a Seattle-set love story of a pregnant, feisty Beijing diva (Tang Wei) who flies to Seattle seeking love and U.S. citizenship for her baby. Tang Wei's character meets a down-on-his-luck doctor (Wu Xiubo) forced into being a cab driver due to the lack of an American medical license, and after an awkward courtship they fall in love.
Finding Mr. Right was the breakout hit at the Chinese box office in 2013, racing into the top ten of highest-grossing domestic releases at the time. Younger Chinese audiences connected with the film and in particular the city of Seattle, which they saw as free of the materialism that pervades Chinese society. Despite being shot in Vancouver, Finding Mr. Right really plays on its links with Seattle, with the Chinese title of the film translating to Beijing Meets Seattle and there are constant and deliberate nods to Nora Ephron's Sleepless In Seattle.
With millions more Chinese tourists traveling abroad each year, hit movies have become a source of inspiration for both vacations as well as expeditions to buy property. Lost in Thailand, which made over $200 million at the Chinese box office in 2013, sparked off a surge of interest in Thailand.