In addition to its long, strong and steady performance at the box office, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon snared an amazing ten Academy Award nominations. Only Gladiator with 12 nominations secured more. And Crouching Tiger's nominations are not just window dressing, they include such key categories as best picture, best director, best screenplay, best cinematography, best art direction, best costumes, best score, and best song. If the film should actually manage to win a few golden statuettes and get an Oscar bounce at the box office, it could raise the bar for foreign language films considerably by surpassing $100 million in domestic U.S. box office.
The success of Crouching Tiger could easily spur interest in martial arts films in general as mainstream American audiences become enamored of kinetic combat scenes and begin to realize where all that stuff in The Matrix comes from. Luc Besson's Kiss of the Dragon, which features the incomparable Jet Li, opens in July and could certainly boost the trend as well. All kinds of products ranging from Hong Kong videos and DVDs from Tai Sing to the Bruce Lee Kubrick figures that Diamond is distributing could benefit from this increase in interest in martial arts films. With plenty of books on Hong Kong cinema and wall scrolls featuring HK stars available, enterprising retailers should be able to take advantage of this rapidly growing trend.