UCLA: Movies make more money when only half the cast is white

LOS ANGELES -- Movies make more money when exactly half the cast is non-white, according to an annual analysis that shows an even stronger connection between diversity and profits -- and suggests how profoundly out of touch the motion picture academy is when giving Oscars only to white actors.

See Full Article

In previous years, movies did better at the box office if two or three of the top eight billed actors were non-white. The latest review, examining 2014 ticket sales, shows four of eight is the magic number, UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies found.

"When we look at film, we see an even stronger relationship between cast diversity and box office," said Darnell Hunt, director of the centre, which focuses on African American studies, at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"These aren't momentary glitches. It's the handwriting on the wall," Hunt said.

Not every top-performing film has a hugely diverse cast -- you have to scan down to the eighth listed actor in 2014's best movie, "Transformers: Age of Extinction," on IMDb.com to find Chinese actress Bingbing Li.

But in the study released Thursday, the Bunche Center took roughly the top 200 films of the last few years and looked at the median global haul at each grouping of diversity -- from zero non-white actors to one, two, three, four, and then five and over.

The best grouping -- where half the main cast was non-white -- had a median ticket revenue of $122.2 million, higher than any other group. That's more than double the $52.6 million median haul for films with no non-white actors in the top eight. Films where more than half the actors in the main cast were non-white also had a median of just $52.4 million.

It stands to reason why a modestly diverse cast pays off. In the U.S., Caucasians remained the largest moviegoing demographic in 2014 at 54 per cent, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. But U.S. Hispanic and Asian audiences punch above their weight, making up a greater proportion of frequent moviegoers who see movies at least once a month than their percentage of the population overall.

And sometimes diverse audiences are core. For the top movie that year, "Transformers: Age of Extinction," 62 per cent of the audience was non-white.

Overseas audiences -- led by fast-growing China -- are also making up an increasing share of the global box office, reaching 72 per cent of the $36.4 billion in 2014, up from 66 per cent just four years earlier. That trend has given rise to direct appeals to Chinese audiences, with filmmakers inserting scenes with Chinese actors in a handful of recent films, including "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" and "Iron Man 3."

The motion picture academy behind the Oscars has moved swiftly to tamp down an uproar over its all-white acting nominee pool for the second year running. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has taken steps to diversify the membership of the overwhelmingly white and male institution.

Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton said recently at the Code Media conference that the move was a "positive step" to align the awards ceremony with the reality that diversity can be good for business.

"You only need to look at a film franchise like 'Fast and Furious' to see what an enormous success that movie has been and in large part I would argue, it's because of the diversity of the cast," he said. "I think the Academy has reacted very, very quickly and positively to what I think was a very, extremely unfortunate situation this year."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Stars turn out for lavish French Riviera AIDS fundraiser

    Entertainment CTV News
    CAP D'ANTIBES, France -- A star-studded French Riviera AIDS fundraising gala has raised more than $20 million (17.8 million euros) to combat the disease globally. Guests at the 24th annual amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala were treated Thursday to musical performances by Nicki Minaj, Rita Ora and Diana Ross, a fashion show and auction of items for the superrich. Source
  • Private service, public viewing for Cornell planned Friday

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell is being laid to rest Friday at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. Representatives for the late singer-songwriter say a private memorial service Friday will be followed by a public viewing of Cornell's burial site at 3 p.m. Source
  • Movie reviews: Wet 'n wild 'Baywatch' pokes fun at TV series sibling

    Entertainment CTV News
    BAYWATCH: 3 STARFISH On the surface “Baywatch,” the big screen reboot of the cheesy 1980s television show, is about beach bunnies who uncover a criminal plot that may bring with it trouble to the Baywatch lifeguards. Source
  • Stars turn out for amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    CAP D’ANTIBES, France — A star-studded French Riviera AIDS fundraising gala has raised more than $20 million (17.8 million euros) to combat the disease globally. Guests at the 24th annual amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala were treated Thursday to musical performances by Nicki Minaj, Rita Ora and Diana Ross, a fashion show and auction of items for the superrich. Source
  • Maud Lewis 'black cats' painting goes for $36,800 auction

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- For the second time in a month a Maud Lewis painting has been sold for five times a pre-auction estimate. The Nova Scotia artist's "Black Cats" fetched $36,800 at the Consignor Canadian Fine Art live spring auction event Thursday at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. Source
  • Maud Lewis 'black cats' painting goes for $36,800 at auction

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- For the second time in a month a Maud Lewis painting has been sold for five times a pre-auction estimate. The Nova Scotia artist's "Black Cats" fetched $36,800 at the Consignor Canadian Fine Art live spring auction event Thursday at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. Source
  • Dwayne Johnson unfazed by bad 'Baywatch' reviews

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Action man Dwayne Johnson is brushing off critics’ bad reviews of his new Baywatch movie revamp, insisting fan feedback has been all positive. The wrestler-turned-movie star has taken over David Hasselhoff’s iconic TV role as head lifeguard Mitch Buchannon for the raunchy big screen adaptation, which also features Zac Efron and Priyanka Chopra, but critics haven’t been too kind to the project, which currently holds a score of just 20% on review website Rotten Tomatoes. Source
  • Winnipeg author Katherena Vermette wins $40,000 Amazon.ca First Novel Award

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Winnipeg writer Katherena Vermette has added to her growing list of accolades with top honours from the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. The award-winning Metis author received the $40,000 grand prize for "The Break" (House of Anansi) at a ceremony held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto on Thursday night. Source
  • 'I'll never be sorry': Dirty Dancing remake viewers might disagree

    Entertainment CBC News
    ABC entered the musical adaptation game with a leap on Wednesday night, but its Dirty Dancing remake landed with a thud with many viewers and critics. Live television and singing and dancing shows are among the more reliable ways to attract viewers in the fractured television landscape, and musicals have increasingly become important dates on the network calendars. Source
  • Taraji P. Henson crashes sports car on film set: report

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress Taraji P. Henson was left a little shaken up on the set of her new movie Proud Mary after crashing a Maserati sports car into a fire hydrant. The star was filming a driving scene in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Sunday when she lost control of the expensive motor and slammed into the hydrant, according to TMZ. Source