New Study Proves Audiences Want More Minorities and Women in Movies and TV

New Study Proves Audiences Want More Minorities and Women in Movies and TV

Feb 26, 2015

Here's an interesting report on the heels of the notoriously white Oscars this year: according to a study looking at entertainment over the period of 2012-2013 (via The Hollywood Reporter), audiences preferred diverse casts on both big and small screens. And yet Hollywood is still doing a terrible job of representing minorities and women in front of and behind the camera.

This revelation comes from analysis conducted at UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and the matter of preference was determined by global box office and a diversity qualification of 30 percent. Looking at worldwide grosses from those two years, the most popular releases do still seem to be rather white and male-dominated, but especially in 2013 the Fast and Furious and Hunger Games installments likely made an impact. And the year's top movie of all, Frozen, is led by female characters.

While not explicitly acknowledged, the study's evidence that TV is doing a better job with diversity than movies could be yet another reason that audiences are more interested in what's on the small screen these days. Within that evidence, cable programming is much greater at involving minorities and women than network shows. What isn't clear is whether the study constitutes a generally diverse ensemble as a positive, even if the central protagonist of the movie is a white man. 

The good news is that diversity in casts and creative positions is on the rise, just much slower than the population. Beyond the study, it's worth noting that Sunday's Oscar ceremony wound up seeing a non-white filmmaker win Best Director and women filmmakers winning in the two documentary categories. Baby steps that should be giant steps, but they're steps nevertheless.

Obviously this is something we need to continue monitoring, and this only the second year of the study, which is called the Hollywood Diversity Report and apparently an annual thing. We can jump ahead ourselves and look at how things may have in fact improved last year. Within the global top 10 highest-grossing movies are the mixed ensembles of Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Interstellar (the Oscar-winning animated feature Big Hero 6 did pretty well, too) and the women-led Maleficent and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. None of them were directed by women, though.

Check out the following infographic for more interesting data and check out a PDF of the full report here.



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