Warner Bros. and New Line are moving forward with an original China-set romantic comedy titled Singles Day. The news arrives hot on the heels of WB and director Jon M. Chu's Crazy Rich Asians movie adaptation becoming a box office success this past week, after earning an overall glowing reception from critics.
While Netflix has been doing its part to revive the rom-com - a genre that's been largely sidelined in the modern era of franchise tentpoles and big-budget studio offerings - with recent Original releases like Set It Up, Crazy Rich Asians is the first such film to hit it big commercially since Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer's Trainwreck topped the box office over three years ago. As good happenstance would have it, Crazy Rich Asians debuted over the same weekend that Netflix premiered its own celebrated adaptation of a rom-com novel featuring a female Asian-American lead, To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Thanks to these films' success, more romantic comedies featuring non-white (specifically, Asian or Asian-American) protagonists are now picking up speed on their journey down the pipeline.
THR is reporting that one such project, titled Singles Day, has now been acquired by WB and New Line, with Chris Bender (We're the Millers) attached to produce. The film was inspired by the holiday Singles Day: an annual event that takes place on November 11 (with the date 11/11 representing being single), where young people in China party and celebrate the lack of a romantic relationship in their lives. Singles Day doesn't have a director lined up yet, but is based on a screenplay by Lillian Yu (a writer on the NBC DC universe-based workplace comedy, Powerless).
According to THR, the current plan is for Singles Day to follow multiple characters and story threads, in the way that New Line rom-coms like He's Just Not That Into You and Valentine's Day have before it. Of course, the cultural backdrop will be one of the big differences between Singles Day and similar rom-com projects that have been released in years past. Beyond that, it's certainly possible (perhaps even likely) that the former will feature a mixture of Asian-American and Asian actors either living in or visiting China during the titular festivities, similar to Crazy Rich Asians before it.
By the sound of it, Singles Day further resembles Crazy Rich Asians in the sense that it takes an established rom-com narrative formula and finds a fresh angle on it by focusing on the experiences of non-white characters and/or people from a predominantly non-white country. Between Chu's film and To All the Boys I've Loved Before alone, that approach has already begun to yield rich (movie) results, while in the process modernizing different subgenres of rom-com by making them more inclusive. If all goes well, Singles Day will become both a success in its own right and another noteworthy addition to this ongoing rom-com renaissance.
We will bring you additional details on Singles Day as they become available.