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

  • Julie Snyder files sex-assault complaint against Gilbert Rozon

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — Julie Snyder, one of the biggest names in Quebec’s entertainment industry, has filed a complaint of sexual assault against Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon. The former wife of business tycoon Pierre Karl Peladeau went to police in the past few days to inform them of the alleged attack, a spokesman for Snyder’s production company said Monday. Source
  • Quebec TV personality Julie Snyder files sexual misconduct complaint against Gilbert Rozon

    Entertainment CBC News
    Julie Snyder is the latest — and most high-profile person yet — to come forward with allegations of sexual assault or harassment against the founder of the Just For Laughs comedy festival, Gilbert Rozon. Snyder, a well-known television star and producer, filed a police complaint against Rozon Sunday night, according to her representative. Source
  • Sex assault complaint filed against Just for Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon

    Entertainment CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Julie Snyder, one of the biggest names in Quebec's entertainment industry, has filed a complaint of sexual assault against Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon. A spokesman for Snyder's production company says the former wife of business tycoon Pierre Karl Peladeau went to police in the past few days to inform them of the alleged attack. Source
  • Megyn Kelly on O'Reilly: Abuse, shaming of women has to stop

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Megyn Kelly took on her former Fox News Channel colleague Bill O'Reilly in blunt terms on Monday, revealing she had gone to her bosses to complain about O'Reilly's behaviour and saying the size of a newly revealed $32 million settlement of harassment charges made by a Fox analyst was "jaw-dropping. Source
  • Tragically Hip music sales jump 1,000% after Gord Downie's death

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Fans of the Tragically Hip flocked to the band’s music as they mourned the death of singer Gord Downie, which drove a huge boost in sales, streams and radio play. Eleven albums by the Kingston, Ont. Source
  • Drake throws swanky Andy Warhol-themed party for 31st birthday in Toronto

    Entertainment CBC News
    Toronto rapper Drake celebrated his 31st birthday this weekend with a lavish Andy Warhol-themed party in his hometown. Although his actual birthday is Tuesday, the multi-platinum artist got a head start on the celebrations with family and a star-studded crew of close friends at Casa Loma on Saturday night. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein faces civil rights investigation in N.Y.

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    ALBANY, N.Y. — State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a civil rights investigation on Monday into The Weinstein Co. following sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. As part of the investigation, the prosecutor’s office issued a subpoena seeking company records on harassment complaints and legal settlements to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken. Source
  • Tragically Hip album sales, audio streams soar after Gord Downie's death

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Fans of the Tragically Hip flocked to the band's music as they mourned the death of singer Gord Downie, which drove a huge boost in sales, streams and radio play. Eleven albums by the Kingston, Ont. Source
  • New York attorney general launches probe of Weinstein Co.

    Entertainment CBC News
    State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a civil rights investigation on Monday into The Weinstein Co. following sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. As part of the investigation, the prosecutor's office issued a subpoena seeking company records on harassment complaints and legal settlements to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken. Source
  • Hoser comedy 'Letterkenny' to get new episodes, international push

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The hit hoser comedy “Letterkenny” is getting a commitment for more episodes, a tour and a push to expand internationally. CraveTV and “Letterkenny” producers New Metric Media have announced a multi-year partnership that includes the production of more than 40 new episodes. Source