Romantic comedy unites Black and Asian leaders for #BlackAndGoldOpen

Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton in “The Sun is Also a Star.” (Photo courtesy Warner Bros.)

#GoldOpen, a movement that began in 2017, expanded last week into #BlackandGoldOpen to support the new teenage romance film “The Sun is Also a Star,” which debuted in theaters on Friday.

The object of #GoldOpen, which formed two years ago to support “Gook,” the directorial debut from Justin Chon, is to ensure movies created by and starring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders achieve financial success. For the campaign, a company, an individual or a business will buy out a theater for a movie’s opening weekend to boost box office.

“The Sun is Also a Star,” adapted from a novel by Jamaican-American author Nicola Yoon, stars Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, who play two New York City high school students who fall in love over the course of a day. Their relationship is tested when Shahidi’s character reveals that she and her family are scheduled to be deported to Jamaica the next day.

To support the movie, organizers of #GoldOpen partnered with black leaders for what they’re dubbing a #BlackandGoldOpen.

“#BlackAndGoldOpen is an important moment for the black and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities,” said Brickson Diamond, chairman of The Blackhouse, an organization that supports black entertainment professionals. “As we approach a state of majority representation in the United States alongside our Latinx brothers and sisters, uniting the stories of our communities is ever more essential. This film shares the complexities of youth, policy and love in a way that speaks to all of our identities. All of us are here for it!”

#GoldOpen gained further traction in 2018 when it supported the romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” the mystery thriller “Searching,” the blockbuster “Aquaman,” and “Burning,” one of the most acclaimed South Korean films of 2018. To broaden its reach and accessibility, #GoldOpen also recently partnered with the AMC theater chain to build a ticket portal that would make it easier to orchestrate buyouts for diverse films.

Janet Yang and Bing Chen, the co-creators of #GoldOpen, have made it clear that they hope the movement continues to grow and evolve.

“After five successful movements to support both indie and blockbuster Asian films, we’re excited to support more stories from more communities more often,” Yang and Chen told Variety in February. “It goes without saying that when certain canonical institutions fail us, it’s incumbent on art to represent, reinforce, and return the world we deserve. Moreover, while it’s been inspiring to witness the Asian community better support itself, we can’t just build for ourselves — we must systematically support others who’ve inspired us, thereby explicitly or latently elevating opportunities to tell our own stories.”