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Study: 2018 proves that, duh, diversity brings in bigger box office

Study: 2018 proves that, duh, diversity brings in bigger box office
Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo in Widows. [Photo: courtesy of Merrick Morton/Twentieth Century Fox]

A new study from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative reveals just how remarkable a year 2018 was at the box office for women and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

Some of the highlights we already knew, of course. Ava DuVernay became the first black woman to direct a film that grossed over $100 million. Crazy Rich Asians was a crazy huge hit. Black Panther became the movie with the highest domestic box office gross of all time that doesn’t feature avatars or wars among the stars. The USC Annenberg study proves, however, that those obvious hits weren’t an aberration but rather part of an overall trend.

Of the 100 top-grossing movies of the year, 40 featured female leads, up from 32 in 2017, and 28 featured people of color, up from 21 the previous year. (And 11 of those films overlapped, featuring a lead performance from a woman of color, tripling the number from 2017.)

People have been saying for a long time how better representation onscreen and behind the camera is necessary. Finally, one can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that it’s also more profitable.

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