Hollywood has people of color to thank for keeping the movie businesses afloat during the pandemic because of their presence on screen and in the theater, According to a study from UCLA.
It was found that most of the domestic tickets sales on opening weekends for six of the top 10 films in 2021 were bought by people of color. But also, households with people of color were overrepresented for streaming audiences for the top 10 films last year.
The study, which is taken yearly, took the top 252 performing films that had theatrical and streaming releases in 2021 and looked for representation of women and people of color. It was found that both groups made significant gains when it came to directors and film writers while staying the same with actors in leading roles.
In a press release, Ana-Christina Ramón, co-author of the study said, “Last year, every time a big movie exceeded expectations or broke a box office record, the majority of opening weekend audiences were people of color. For people of color, and especially Latino families, theaters provided an excursion when almost everything else was shut down.”
For Black moviegoers, nine of the top 10 films for Black people had casts that were over 30 percent minority compared to eight of the top 10 for Latinx people and seven of the top 10 for Asian people, according to the study.
Also an encouraging number for Black movie fans, Black people were overrepresented when it came to being the lead actor in a film in 2021, all other minority groups were underrepresented.
Ramón said in the press release, “In a sense, people of color kept studios afloat the past couple of years. Studios should consider them to be investors, and as investors, they should get a return in the form of representation.”
More from the press release:
Overall, 43.1% of actors in the movies analyzed by the report were minorities. That’s more than double the percentage from 2011, the first year of data collected by the authors, when 20.7% of actors were minorities. And 31.0% of the top-performing films in 2021 had casts in which the majority of the actors were minorities.