We have proof that diversity sells movies — so why can’t all of Hollywood catch up?
Good question. As they point out quite effectively, diversity sells and sells big. Movies with relatively small budgets and diverse casts are proving to be more profitable than Big Budget Blockbusters with all white casts.
The box office is global, and diversity sells. No wonder wistful, quiet films about suburban adolescence (“Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl”; “Paper Towns,” “The Diary of Teenage Girl,”) seemed to mostly appeal to big city critics approaching midlife crises. Notably, the “fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-highest grossers this year,” Mark Harris points out in his analysis for Grantland, were also released by Universal. These films–“Pitch Perfect 2,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Straight Outta Compton,” and “Trainwreck”–share more than a few features in common, including the fact that they’re cinematic Velveeta: highly processed, approaching cheesy, and likely to be shelf-stable for decades. Per Harris, these films had “modest budgets, strong marketing, and a lack of concern about bringing in the young white male demographic that is still considered by too many studios the be-all-and-end-all of the movie business.” Combined, the box office receipts of these four films also surpass the one billion mark, giving them higher profitability ratios than the Big Three because of their relatively tiny budgets.
The article doesn’t really tackle the issue of Hollywood is being so stubborn, but I’m pretty sure those of you how reading this have your ideas as to why. Regardless, the truth is undeniable, diversity sells in the global marketplace and it’s just good business to recognize that and cast accordingly.