Hollywood faced a major blow of the pandemic in 2020. Businesses began to shut down and people had to maintain physical distance which wreaked havoc on the box office revenue and disturbed the film release strategies.
To survive in the game, Hollywood has to come up with a creative alternative plan like any other industry in the world. UCLA’s latest Hollywood Diversity Report, published today by the UCLA College Division of Social Sciences, shows that 54.6% of the top films of 2020 were released solely via streaming subscription services, a major departure from business as usual.
More than 50 % of US adults reported that their source of entertainment through movies and series via online subscription services increased during 2020. The mobile entertainment market increased to $68 billion over the course of 2020, up 23% from the $55.9 billion in 2019. Latinos and Black adults, in particular, consumed online content at higher levels than other groups.
Numerous big blockbuster films that were supposed to release in 2020 have future pushed their release dates to 2021 or even 2022. For films that had a theatrical run in 2020, minorities were major drivers of box-office ticket sales, as with previous years. The Hollywood Diversity Report shows how well women and minorities are represented and distributed in four key industry employment categories that are, lead actors, total cast, writers, and directors.
All four job categories showed progress in 2020, but women and people of colour are still underrepresented in critical behind-the-camera jobs. Women made up just 26% of film writers and just 20.5% of directors. Combined, minority groups were slightly better represented as directors at 25.4%. Just 25.9% of film writers in 2020 were people of colour. “We’ve been systematically looking at these key job categories and comparing the representation of women and people of colour to the all-important bottom line for eight years, and it’s encouraging to see skyrocketing numbers this year in front of the camera,” was stated by Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA College Division of Social Sciences and the report’s co-author.
UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report is a one-of-a-kind report that encompasses the analysis of how top films perform among various racial groups, comparing the diversity of casts and directors and writers with the diversity of American audiences kept in mind. Films featuring casts that were 21% to 30% minority had the highest ratings among white, Black, Latino, and Asian households and viewers 18–49.
UCLA’s report shows great progress in actor categories over its decade of data. For the first time since the report began in2014, people of color were represented in the lead actor and total cast categories at levels proportionate to their presence in the American populace — 39.7% and 42%, respectively. In 2020, nearly all of the films with a female director also featured a female lead (94.7%).
However, the report notes, there are still relatively few examples of women and people of colour running the show on big-budget films, those marketed to the broadest audience. Women and people of colour were more likely to direct films that fell into the lowest budget category of less than $20 million. For films directed by people of colour, 72.3% had budgets less than $20 million, compared to 60% for white directors.
Among other findings the major ones being:
Women made up 47.8% of lead actors and 41.3% of overall casts in the top films of 2020. Women make up about half the U.S. population.
Among white, Black and Middle Eastern or Northern African actors, women were significantly underrepresented in the top films of 2020, compared to men from those groups.
Among Latino, Asian, multiracial and Native actors, women either approached parity with their male counterparts or exceeded it in films of 2020.
The most underrepresented groups in all job categories, relative to their presence in the U.S., are Latino, Asian and Native actors, directors, and writers.