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Films with Higher Percentages of Cast Diversity Earn Top Box Office Dollars in 2020 While Films with Lowest Diversity Earn the Least

Written by Good Black News

April 22, 2021

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to UCLA’s annual Hollywood Diversity Report, U.S. audiences spent more money to see films comprised of diverse casts.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted movie releases in theaters for the majority of 2020, the UCLA report took that into consideration and tracked online and streaming movie releases as well. The data from those releases offer similar results — diversely-cast films generate more interest from audiences.

UCLA’s 2021 report states that in 2020, films with casts with at least 41% to 50% diversity took home the highest median gross at the box office, while films with casts less than 11% diversity performed the worst.

These films include the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action comedy Bad Boys for Life, which was 2020’s top-earning film at the box office with $426.5 million; the No. 2 Tenet starring John David Washington, which grossed $362.9 million; Birds of Prey, which came in at No. 5 with $201.9 million; and Onward, which came in seventh with $141.9 million.

The UCLA report states that the new evidence from 2020 supports findings from previous reports in this series suggesting that America’s increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse film content in the following ways:

  1. People of color accounted for the majority of opening weekend, domestic ticket sales for six of the top 10 films released in theaters in 2020 (ranked by global box office), as well as half of the tickets for a seventh top 10 film.
  2. Among the large number of top films released via streaming platforms in 2020 — largely due to the pandemic and theater closures — ratings for White, Black, Latinx and Asian households and viewers 18-49 were all highest for films featuring casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority.
  3. Households of color accounted for a disproportionate share of the households viewing eight of the top 10 films released via streaming platforms in 2020, ranked by total household ratings, and approached proportionate representation for the other two.
  4.  In 2020, total social media interactions for films released via streaming platforms peaked for films with casts that were from 21 percent to 30 percent minority.
  5. In 2020, films with casts that were from 41 percent to 50 percent minority enjoyed the highest median global box office receipts, while films with casts that were less than 11 percent minority were the poorest performers.
  6. In 2020, seven of the top 10 theatrical films for Asian and Black moviegoers, ranked by each group’s share of opening weekend box office, featured casts that were over 30 percent minority. Four of the top 10 theatrical films for Latinx moviegoers and just one of the top 10 theatrical films for White moviegoers had casts that exceeded 30 percent minority.
  7. Seven of the top 10 streaming films ranked by the Asian share and Black share of total households had casts that were over 30 percent minority in 2020. Among the top 10 films ranked by Latinx and White household share, six had casts that exceeded the 30 percent minority threshold.

The report also notes that while gains have been made in certain areas in regards to casting, director and writer representation for people of color still has a ways to go, with percentages for both in 2020 were still over 74% white.

To read the full report, click here.

Original article source: | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

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