A recent study on movie representation demonstrates how much of a rarity “Barbie” is. There were more than two men for every speaking female role in the most well-liked movies of 2022. In last year’s top 100 movie office successes, 34.6% of speaking roles were played by women.
Researchers from USC discovered that in their first such study in three years progress toward parity on screen has stagnated since the epidemic and in some ways, barely changed since it was conducted initially 14 years ago.
34% of speaking characters in 2019 were female. It stood at 32.8% in 2008. Stacy L. Smith, founder and director of the Inclusion Initiative said in a statement:
“It is clear that the entertainment industry has little desire or motivation to improve casting processes in a way that creates meaningful change for girls and women, The lack of progress is particularly disappointing following decades of activism and advocacy.”
The analysis excludes the substantial number of films made for streaming platforms and lesser releases when examining the top movies in terms of ticket sales. However, it does provide a glimpse of how Hollywood is changing or not.
Female Leading Roles in Top Films Reach Record High
The massive success of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie”, which has generated $1.2 billion globally since its release last month and has become the best-grossing film ever made by a female director domestically.
Look at the tweet below which showed the earning of the Barbie movie.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) August 6, 2023
The proportion of female directors in the top ten grossing movies dropped to one in ten last year from record highs in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Some study findings show that inclusion on screen has improved.
The highest-grossing films have more female leading or co-leading parts than ever. A record high and more than twice as many females as males were cast in such lead roles in 2022 (44%), compared to only 20% in 2007.
Significant advancements have also been made for speaking characters from underrepresented ethnic groups. Black, Hispanic, Asian and other non-white minorities made up 38.3% of speaking characters in 2022, almost the same as the U.S. population (41%).
Most notably, Asian characters increased from 3.4% of characters in 2007 to 15.9% of characters in 2018, a film year that finished with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” winning best picture.
Other data, however indicate that the epidemic caused the film industry to regress in several areas of diversity. The percentage of leads from underrepresented ethnic groups in the highest-grossing films fell from 37% in 2021 to 31% in 2022.
Only 2.1% of speaking characters in the top 100 movies 2022 identified as LGBTQ+, around the same percentage as a decade earlier. 72 of the 100 movies lacked even a single LGBTQ+ character. 1.9% of speaking characters in 2022 were portrayed as having a disability. 2.4% was the proportion in 2015.
Smith said Thursday’s (August 17) findings should add to the demands of employees in Hollywood, both on and off the screen given that actors and screenwriters are on strike over fair pay, AI and other issues. Smith said:
“When people from these communities are rendered invisible both on screen and behind the camera, the need to ensure that every opportunity merits a living wage is essential. This cannot happen if people are not working at all, Hollywood has a long road ahead to address the exclusion still happening in the industry alongside the concerns actors and writers are bringing to the forefront.”
You can follow us on Twitter and view our other most recent posts to stay up to date with the newest news.