For a film that lauds itself as historic and a win for Asian representation (questionable), as well as one that has topped the North American box office for three straight weekends, you’d think companies would have clamored to jump on the opportunity to be featured in Crazy Rich Asians.
Not Singapore Airlines (SIA) though. The city-state’s flagship airline is a no-brainer inclusion for a film that’s set in Singapore and focuses on the lifestyles of the disgustingly wealthy who, ironically enough, would be regular patrons of the most luxurious class of flying commercially IRL. According to the Crazy Rich Asians producers who spoke to The Wrap, SIA turned the opportunity for product placement down.
“It was going to be an ad for Singapore Airlines!” said Crazy Rich Asians producer Brad Simpson to The Wrap. “But (SIA was) not sure the movie would represent the airline and their customer in a good light,” he added.
The airline did not clarify the grounds behind their refusal, but the reason they gave is open to doubt, especially since only the crazy rich are rich and crazy enough to cough out as much US$17,658 for a round-trip ticket on SIA’s Suites Class. Or perhaps SIA didn’t want to align themselves with the film adaptation of a book that satirizes its subject matter.
In the end, the crew had to come up with the fictional Pacific Asean Airlines for the film, which takes a lot of inspiration from various luxurious first-class plane services, including SIA. The branding they used for the fictional airlines took motifs and elements from Singapore heritage, including orchids and color palettes, according to production designers who spoke to The Points Guy.
Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu believed that people “didn’t have faith in this movie”.
“It seems obvious now, but when we were making it, everyone thought it was a little movie and they were very suspicious about what we were trying to do,” he told The Wrap.
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