Saturday, June 29, 2013

Asian Film Directors Dominate 2013!

(photo by
Asian film directors led 3 American blockbuster movies and had their biggest year yet in 2013.  Overall, these critically-acclaimed directors helmed 7 films with a variety of genres:  drama, action, horror, and science-fiction.  The year also marked the debut of 2 famed Korean directors, who were both making their first foray into English-language films.  With several notable Asian films making their debut in America, the year was filled with Asian film directors making their mark.

ASIAN FILM DIRECTORS:  Summer Blockbusters!  

Blockbuster films AFTER EARTH directed by M. Night Shyamalan, G.I. JOE: RETALIATION directed Jon M. Chu, and FAST AND FURIOUS 6 directed by Justin Lin, marked the first time in Hollywood history that 3 Asian-American directors would debut their big-budget films in one year!

FAST AND FURIOUS 6 went bonkers at the box-office with $230M domestically and $437M overseas.  Lin has helmed the last 3 films of the FAST AND FURIOUS series (2009, 2011, and 2013), with each film breaking box-office records every time.

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION did well at the box-office, finishing with $122M domestically and $249M overseas.  The ensemble film, starring Dwayne THE ROCK Johnson, Channing Tatum, and Byung Hun-Lee, is the just the second in a film franchise that is expected to be highly-successful.

AFTER EARTH may have been a mild disappointment with $57M domestic but the film's $114M earnings overseas turned a profit for the movie starring Will Smith and son Jaden.

Director M. Night Shyamalan (photo by

ASIAN FILM DIRECTORS:  Mixed Results    

The Dean of Asian film directors, Ang Lee, started the year off with a bang with LIFE OF PI, winning the Oscar for Best Director at the 2013 Academy Awards.  According to Box Office Mojo, LIFE OF PI not only became a critical success but it also did well at the box-office, bringing in more than $600M worldwide ($124M domestic, $484M overseas).  

The year also marked the debut of critically-acclaimed Korean Director Kim Ji-Woon, who directed his first English-language film, THE LAST STAND, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Released in late January, THE LAST STAND also signaled the return of Schwarzenegger to the big screen.  Despite favorable reviews, the film was a box-office disappointment.  It should be noted that it wasn't a good year overall for action stars Dwayne THE ROCK Johnson (SNITCH), Bruce Willis (A GOOD YEAR TO DIE HARD), and Arnold, who had lower than expected box-office returns.

2013 also saw the debut of famed Korean director Park Chan-wook in the psychological-thriller STOKER.  The independent film starring Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska was a hit at the Sundance festival earlier in the year.  The critically-acclaimed film had modest success at the box-office when it was released in March.

Bollywood director Ayan Mukerji had a successful debut at the American box-office with his Bollywood film YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI.  The film starring Ranbir Kapoor was ranked #9 among Indian films making their debut in U.S. cinema.  The popularity of Bollywood films keeps growing with no sign of stopping among a fan base consisting of Indian immigrants and Bollywood fans in America.

Director James Wan  (photo by

Famed horror director James Wan (SAW series, DEAD SILENCE, INSIDIOUS) is expected to have a big year with the release of two horror films:  THE CONJURING (July 19) and INSIDIOUS PART 2 (September 13).

Japanese horror director Takashi Shimizu (Ju-On: The Grudge series and the American versions THE GRUDGE and THE GRUDGE 2) returns to American cinema on August 12 with the supernatural horror film, 7500.

Critically-acclaimed Chinese director Wong Kar Wai is set to release THE GRANDMASTER (August 23), the highly anticipated film on legendary martial arts master Yip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. The controversial film took 10 years to develop.

Director Ang Lee (photo by

A Very Good Year

2013 has been good year for Asian film directors and there is hope that their stock will continue to rise in Hollywood.  The success of these directors is no fluke and can be credited to their considerable talent and hard work.  

As more Asian film directors are entering the American film industry, it is with hope that this becomes the first step to truly diversifying Hollywood.

Check out the trailers of upcoming films:





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