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

  • Sinatra's fourth wife dead at 90

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Barbara Sinatra, the fourth wife of legendary singer Frank Sinatra and a prominent advocate and philanthropist for abused children, has died at 90. John Thoresen, director of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, says she died Tuesday of natural causes at her Rancho Mirage, California, home. Source
  • Kendrick Lamar leads contenders for MTV's non-gendered VMAs

    Entertainment CBC News
    Kendrick Lamar's Humble is giving the rapper reason to brag: he is the leader heading into the MTV Video Music Awards with eight nominations. Lamar and his hit song are nominated for video of the year, artist of the year, best hip-hop video and other categories. Source
  • Chrissy Teigen says Trump blocked her on Twitter

    Entertainment CTV News
    Model Chrissy Teigen says she has been blocked on Twitter by U.S. President Donald Trump after years of trolling the Republican online. Teigen posted a screenshot from her Twitter account revealing she had been blocked from viewing the president's tweets. Source
  • Game of Thrones: Shattering the dragonglass ceiling

    Entertainment CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Westeros is no longer a man's world. Women are finally calling most of the shots during the seventh season of "Game of Thrones." And if recent economic history is any guide, greater gender equality could help make everyone better off. Source
  • Philanthropist Barbara Sinatra, widow of Frank Sinatra, dead at 90

    Entertainment CBC News
    Barbara Sinatra, the fourth wife of legendary singer Frank Sinatra and a prominent children's advocate and philanthropist who raised millions of dollars to help abused children, died Tuesday at 90. Sinatra died of natural causes at her Rancho Mirage, Calif. Source
  • 'No one likes you'; Trump blocks Chrissy Teigen on Twitter

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Model Chrissy Teigen says she has been blocked on Twitter by President Donald Trump after years of trolling the Republican online. Teigen posted a screenshot from her Twitter account revealing she had been blocked from viewing the president’s tweets. Source
  • Barbara Sinatra, Frank Sinatra's widow, dies in California

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A family friend says Barbara Sinatra, philanthropist and widow of legendary singer Frank Sinatra, has died in California. More to come. Source
  • Barbara Sinatra, Frank's 4th wife and philanthropist, dies at 90

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Barbara Sinatra, the fourth wife of legendary singer Frank Sinatra and a prominent children's advocate and philanthropist who raised millions of dollars to help abused children, died Tuesday at 90. Sinatra died of natural causes at her Rancho Mirage, California, home surrounded by family and friends, said John Thoresen, director of the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center. Source
  • Kendrick Lamar leads MTV VMAs with 8 noms, Perry and The Weeknd with 5

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” is giving the rapper reason to brag: He is the leader of the MTV Video Music Awards with eight nominations. Lamar and his No.1 hit song are nominated for video of the year, artist of the year, best hip-hop video and other prizes. Source
  • WayHome revises policy, allows attendees to bring naloxone

    Entertainment CBC News
    An Ontario music festival has reversed a policy that would have banned attendees from bringing their own injectable naloxone kits, saying patrons will be able to trade syringes of the opioid overdose antidote for a nasal spray that has the same effect. Source