It’s been said before, but it is worth saying again: diversity pays — but not in terms of checking boxes and tokenism. In a new report from the UCLA-based Center for Scholars and Storytellers titled “Beyond Checking A Box: A Lack of Authentically Inclusive Representation Has Costs at the Box Office”, researchers found that bringing authentic diversity to film improves financial performance at the box office while a lack of diversity can result in losses for studios.
Films like the Latino-fronted Pixar animated pic Coco, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Warner Bros’ Crazy Rich Asians proved that racially diverse casts can bring in highly profitable grosses at the box office, according to UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report produced by a group of UCLA researchers including Darnell Hunt, dean of the College’s division of social sciences. However, when it comes to writing and directing jobs, underrepresented voices still have quite a way to go.
The report which was published today analyzed 109 movies from 2016 to 2019 and found that movie studios can expect to lose up to $130 million per film when their offerings lack authentic diversity in their storytelling. Researchers found that large-budget films (a budget of $159 million or more) are subject to a significant cost in the opening weekend box office for a lack of diversity.
They estimate a $159 million movie will lose $32.2 million, approximately 20% of the its budget, in first weekend box office, with a potential total loss of $130 million, 82% of its budget. For a $78 million budget movie will lose $13.8 million in its opening weekend for a lack of diversity, with a potential total loss of $55.2 million, 71% of its budget.
“We asked, what is the cost of lacking diversity? Hollywood is a business, and no business wants