Study Indicates Racially Diverse Movies Perform Better at Box-Office
Historically, the number-one rationale behind the overwhelming whiteness of Hollywood has been the financial imperative, the dubious claim that movies with predominantly black casts then become “black movies,” which is to say that they are niche movies, which is to say that they are not profitable. Despite this not being remotely true — Creed is one of, like, a bajillion counterexamples — many studio heads have hidden racist hiring practices behind sound business practices, claiming only to give the people what they want, which is apparently white actors. Now, at long last, we’ve got some hard data to refute this horse-pucky stance once and for all.
The keen analytical minds at UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies released another of their Hollywood Diversity Reports, and made the heartening discovery that movies with multiracial casts actually perform better in the global box office than all-white casts. Taking 63 releases in 2014 into consideration, the study found that films with 41-50% non-white actors generated a cumulative sum of $122 million, as opposed to the measly $53 million from films with 10% or less nonwhite cast members. Furthermore, the study indicates that the 8 most diverse films of the year drew 58% non-white viewers in the U.S., and that non-white moviegoers account for approximately 50% of American audiences.
This represents a major development for the embattled intersection between Hollywood and America’s racial dynamics. Prior to the study, diversifying casts and providing representation for nonwhite groups was seen primarily as a moral duty, a demonstration that a film studio has a conscience even if it might harm the bottom line. Now that that has been officially proven as not the case, there’s no reason whatsoever for studios to balk at casting nonwhite actors. Other than, you know, racism. But as reasons for casting go, that’s a pretty terrible one.