The Hollywood studio, which is owned by Comcast, has become the first to commit to the “4% Challenge,” reports Bloomberg. The challenge was launched at the Sundance Film Festival by Stacy L. Smith from USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative and Time’s Up. It seeks to get content producers to commit to working with more female directors. The 4% comes from the fact that of the “1,200 top-earning films released between 2007-2018, only 4 percent were directed by women,” reports Inside Edition.
By accepting the challenge, Universal Pictures is committing to work with at least one female director on a feature film in the next 18 months. While that might not seem like a lot, keep in mind that Universal typically only puts out 12 to 18 films a year and those films are often planned years in advance, so even committing to one female director in just the next 18 months is a big step in the right direction–and something that is long overdue.
It should also be noted, however, that while Hollywood has been celebrated in 2018 for increasing its diversity in films such as Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, not a single female director was nominated for the best directing Oscar this year.
Universal Pictures’ Peter Cramer, Focus Features’ Peter Kujawski and DreamWorks Animation’s Margie Cohn proudly join their colleagues throughout the industry in accepting the #TIMESUP #4PercentChallenge. https://t.co/llVyB2W8Rn @TIMESUPNOW
— Universal Pictures (@UniversalPics) January 29, 2019
This is big. This is a studio pledging to work with women. https://t.co/bQFLD7VqLc
— Melissa Silverstein (@melsil) January 29, 2019