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Study Predicts Little Chance of Hollywood’s Diversity Problem Changing Anytime Soon

‘Only 14 movies had non-white leads or co leads…’


A new study from USC has revealed that even though a lot of people would like there to be more diversity in the casting of Hollywood movies, Hollywood’s ability to become more inclusive remains dubious.

The study looked at characters with speaking roles in the top 100 movies from 2016. The movies were picked based on how much money they grossed at the box office. The researchers took notes on the gender, sexuality, and race for 4,583 characters, as well as the demographics of the people behind the camera, such as writers, producers, and directors.

Compared to previous studies, this one is “the most detailed intersectional and longitudinal  … to date”.

Here’s what they found:

  • The average ratio male characters to female characters in a movie is 2.18 men from every woman.
  • In 2016, only 34 movies had a female lead/co-lead
  • 2% of females worked as writers and 20.7% were producers, and only 4.2% were directors!
  • 73% percent of the characters were white, 12.5% were black, 4.9% were Hispanic, 5.3% were Asian, and 4.2% were listed as “other”

  • In general, there was an increase in the representation of black characters from 2015 to 2016
  • 47% of films had no black, female characters with dialogue.
  • Only 14 movies had non-white leads or co leads
  • Disney’s Moana was the only movie to feature a Native Hawaiian lead
  • Only 5.8% of directors in 2016 were black
  • Only 1.1% of all the 4,544 characters in films were Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual
  • There were no movies all that featured trans characters in 2016

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