This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Learn More

Already have an account?

Sign in
Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

Why 'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan Turned Down Netflix As studios bid for the production rights to his books, he was more focused on making a statement than a profit.

By Jason Feifer

This story appears in the November 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jami Tarris

In October 2016, Kevin Kwan was on the most consequential conference call of his life. He's the author of Crazy Rich Asians, the best-selling novel series, and two moviemaking giants were bidding to take his vision to the screen. A choice had to be made: Sell to Netflix or Warner Bros.? "I'd never been on a conference call with that many people ever," says Kwan. There were lawyers. Agents. Film producers. And the clock was ticking. Warner Bros. had given them 15 minutes to make up their minds.

Related: Five Hidden Traps That Can Affect Decision Making

If Kwan wanted instant riches, the choice was clear: Netflix. It offered up-front seven-figure-­minimum payouts for the movie's stakeholders, plus a guaranteed trilogy. But Kwan and the film's director, Jon M. Chu, had larger ambitions. Warner Bros. outbid the other Hollywood studios -- and while it wasn't offering Netflix's mountain of cash, it would place the movie in theaters. That mattered to Kwan and Chu, because they wanted to create more than just a movie. They wanted a cultural statement.

The rest of this article is locked.

Join Entrepreneur+ today for access.

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Sign In