At 42.7%, people of color still represent a minority of the US population, but they make up the majority of ticket buyers for most of 2021’s highest-grossing movies.
In the film-focused first part of their 2022 Hollywood Diversity Report, UCLA researchers Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramón found that six of last year’s top 10 films attracted a large share of the audience. large white audience on opening weekend (including box office king Spider-Man: There’s no way homewith a POC audience rating of 60%), as well as two of the top 10 streaming movies (by Netflix Vivo and by Amazon To 2 Americas).
“Every time a major film exceeds expectations or breaks records, 53% to 60% of opening weekend audiences are people of color,” Ramón said in a statement. “Essentially, people risked their lives to go to the movies during the pandemic. For people of color and especially Latino families, movie theaters provided an excursion when most things were closed. In a sense, people of color have really kept the studios alive over the past few years. Studios should consider them investors, and as investors, they should receive their profits, in the form of representation. ”
Analysis of the eight highest-grossing actors in each of 252 English-language titles in 2021 (including the top 200 highest-grossing films worldwide as well as films released by major broadcasters), research New research found that people of color – when counted as a whole – achieve screen-to-screen ratio (43.1 percent) but not directors (30.2 percent) and screenwriters ( 32.3 percent). The majority (31%) of movies in last year’s sample had casts of more than 50% white, a stark contrast from a decade ago, when the majority of films (51.2%) had more than 90% skin White.
“We suspect this is at least due to the overwhelming impact of the sheer number of movies we analyzed being streamed for streaming,” says Hunt. The study reports that the majority (45.6%) of 2021 releases are stream-only, while only 17.9% receive a “traditional” theatrical-only release.
Looking at movies that only hit theaters by their percentage of non-white casts, the film with the highest average global box office ($107.4 million) has between 21 and 30 percent human actors. skin color. This same diversity ratio is also true among streaming movies (as measured by average ratings) in white, Latino, and Asian households, even though black households and viewers 18- 49 peaked with titles with a majority POC cast, of which 72 are due to be released in 2021, including Raya and the last dragon, Vivo, To 2 Americas and Mortal Kombat.
“We think this dual release strategy could live here, and could have a lasting impact on the before and after camera diversity metrics going forward as studios think about how to fund content. for different platforms,” added Hunt.
Although the study did not cross-reference film budgets by distribution strategy, the authors looked at budgets by race and gender of stars and directors. It’s a little different when it comes to the main character race, but nearly half (45.9%) of films with female leads have low budgets (under $10 million) with only 4.6% of their films having budget of more than 100 million USD, while the male lead film was spread more widely. Directors who are not white or male also have a larger disparity in film budgets, with 40.3% of films directed by the global majority and 47.1% of films by women. directorships pegged at less than $10 million (compared to 28.6 percent and 28.2 percent of films directed by white men and directors). Women are also $100 million more likely to get a role in a movie than men.
“In 2021, diversity in front of the camera does not mean creating more opportunities for women and people of color filmmakers,” Ramón said in a statement. “They continue to receive less financing, even when they make films with white leads. Most of these filmmakers are relegated to low-budget films. The chronic underinvestment in women and people of color creates limited opportunities for them to showcase their talents to a wider audience.”
The budget deficit increased critical acclaim for more inclusive films. For the first time in the nine-year history of the Hollywood Diversity Report, most films that won at least one Oscar last season featured directors or majors from much of the globe, including Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Ghost Rainey’s Black Bottom and soul.
UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report is the latest study to be released as another awards season draws to a close. Last week, USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative updated its ongoing demographic analysis of movie characters, while the San Diego State Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film published the most recent report on female representation in film.