New Study Finds More Diverse Movies Make More Money
With the success of Black Panther at the box office and Get Out and Lady Bird being recognized by the Academy as Oscar contenders this year, Hollywood is finally starting to get the hint: Movies that feature characters of color and more diverse storylines make more money. Quelle surprise.
The UCLA study, via Reuters, analyzed film and TV data from 2016, including the top 200 grossing films and the top 10 U.S. scripted broadcast television shows, and concluded that media with a demographic makeup that was at least 21 percent minority — that is, movies and shows that feature more than one or zero characters of color — did way better with audiences than media that was less diverse. Big tentpoles, like Captain America: Civil War and Suicide Squad, in which more than a fifth of the cast was made up of primarily white actors, grossed higher globally than movies that were less inclusive. Likewise, six of the top ten shows in the 18-49 age demographic (the one studios want to appeal to the most) had a cast that was over 21 percent non-white.
Films in this bracket also attracted more moviegoers who were black, Asian, and Latino, and grossed an average of around $180 million, while less diverse movies averaged around $40 million. That’s a huge difference, and makes sense in a country where minorities make up 40 percent of the population, and women 51 percent. It also reflects a willingness in diverse audiences to shell out more to support the content they crave from studios. That old myth that movies need to be straight and white to appeal to the broadest demographic of people has been busted, and Hollywood needs to catch up and start taking stock of who in their audience matters to them most.