Movies with diverse casts make more money, study finds
Abysmal minority hiring policies are costing Hollywood movie studios and TV networks millions of dollars.
That's the bottom line from the 2016 Hollywood Diversity Report compiled by the Bunche Center at UCLA and released Thursday morning. The news arrives just days before Sunday's Academy Awards, which have been the target of intense criticism and an "#OscarsTooWhite" Twitter campaign over the lack of diversity in this year's Oscar nominations
Movies with diverse casts make more significantly more money at the box office and TV shows with lineups that reflect the general population of the U.S. get much higher ratings, according to the study, which has been charting the relationship between the casting of minorities and box office grosses and TV ratings since 2011.
2016 Academy Award nominees:
The fact that studios are seeing the highest grosses and TV ratings from movies and programs that most closely mirror America's demographics offers some hope for change, because nothing drives decisions in Hollywood and at the major media companies more than the bottom line, according to Dr. Darnell Hunt, one of the study's authors and director of the Bunche Center.
"We've been saying it for years, but it's still true," he told TheWrap. "When it comes to minority representation in Hollywood, the most important color is green, as in money."
Blacks, Hispanics and Asians together make up 34 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for 44 percent of movie tickets sold in 2014, according to the most recent report by the Motion Picture Association of America.
"If you look at the number of frequent moviegoers, which show minorities making up nearly half of them, it's clear that if you don't factor that in when you take your film to the market, you're dooming yourself," Hunt said.
Why in such a bottom line-driven industry has the trend continued?
"It is part of Hollywood's DNA to exclude people of color and women," Hunt said Thursday.
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