Diversity in films boosts box office success, finds study

Tom Lawson

Films with diverse casts are proving more popular at the box office, finds a study by the Creative Artists Agency

Ethnically diverse casting appears to be leading to box office success, with films that have at least a 30 per cent non-white cast outperforming those below that threshold.

The findings come from a study by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which examined 413 films released between January 2014 and December 2016. Researchers noted the ethnicity of the main 10 actors in each production, and found that those with more actors of colour generated bigger bucks at the box office.

People want to see a world that looks like theirs

One notable example is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, starring John Boyega (pictured). It was highly praised for its inclusive casting, and is the highest grossing film of the last eight years.

Christy Haubegger, head of CAA’s multicultural development group, said audiences want the diversity of real life reflected in the films they watch. “People want to see a world that looks like theirs,” Haubegger told the LA Times.

The study also looked at films by genre and found that casts of horror and fantasy films are largely white, while comedies and thrillers are more diverse.

Image: Flickr member Gage Skidmore
John Boyega, star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International


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