Dinner and a Movie With Crazy Rich Asians
New collaboration between Asian grocery chain and cineastes mixes food and film
H Mart, the Asian American grocery store chain, has been working on community building since opening in Austin in 2018, from open mic nights to K-pop dance events. Now, in conjunction with popular indie film screening nonprofit organization Hyperreal Film Club, the Austin branch will host a free screening of box office sensation Crazy Rich Asians in their food hall on Feb. 6. "Crazy Rich Asians is an undeniably entertaining film with enough mass appeal to be a classic crowd-pleaser," H Mart President Stacey Kwon said. "It certainly played a role in terms of bringing a greater representation of Asian actors and culture to Western audiences."
The film, based off the bestselling book series by Kevin Kwan, broke box office records and helped finally spike Hollywood's interest in telling more Asian American stories. Starring Constance Wu, Henry Golding, and The Farewell star Awkwafina, the film follows Rachel Chu (Wu) as she flies to Singapore to accompany her boyfriend (Golding) to his best friend's wedding. However, on the way she discovers he has been keeping a big secret from her: He comes from one of the wealthiest families on the island. Jon Chu's energetic and luscious rom-com is full of funny quips but also is balanced with heartfelt moments that make it extremely rewatchable, especially with a crowd of fans. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Hyperreal's Tanner Carlos Hadfield said, "It stood out as the perfect film for a collective celebration of love and food: It's the most wildly spectacular Hollywood rom-com of all time and a hell of a crowd-pleaser.
"We think H Mart's Market Eatery is a perfect spot to try something new while enjoying the timeless pleasure of eating, drinking, and watching a movie together," he added. "So we're glad they approached us to collaborate!"
Echoing that sentiment, Kwon said, "Hyperreal is very creative when it comes to their own programming – especially experientially – so they feel like a natural fit for a partnership with H Mart."
Kwon commented that there will be additional seats to accompany the extra crowd, as well as tantalizing food specials (including a bento box special from Momo Sushi), free snacks, and select 99-cent domestic beers. These specials are in addition to their usual food court options, which include Korean-style fried chicken, bibimbap, and kimchi jjigae, as well as sake and Korean wines.
In tradition with Hyperreal's screenings, there will be a local short film that plays prior to the film. Hadfield said, "We always show a short work by an Austin artist before feature film screenings. Getting local work in front of an excited, sizable audience is honestly the most important part of our screenings."
Almost unanimously adored by film critics and audiences alike, Crazy Rich Asians is the perfect film to jump-start a film program at H Mart. Paired with Hyperreal's goal of bringing the local Austin community together to celebrate creative and boundary-pushing cinema, this feels like the promising beginnings of a very special partnership.
H Mart and Hyperreal Film Club present Crazy Rich Asians @H Mart, 11301 Lakeline, Thu., Feb, 6, 7pm. Free admission.