Diversity Pays off at Box Office
Hollywood seems to be learning a lesson about diversity in movies. Diversity pays!
So far in 2018 the top grossing movies have been films with a predominantly African American cast. In January, usually a slow grossing month at the movies, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, starring Dewayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, was the #1 movie for the month with box office receipts of $171 million. The movie helped to make Sony the only movie company to gross over $200 million for the month. Disney's mega franchise, Star Wars (The Last Jedi), finished third for the month with ticket sales of $120 million.
Of course, the month of February belongs to Black Panther. The movie continues to roll over box office records with no signs of slowing down. The Disney/Marvel movie continued its dominance in its second week of release, finishing #1 at the box office for the second week in a row and surpassing $700 million in worldwide ticket sales. Black Panther is currently the fifth highest grossing movie of all time and it joined a very short list of movies with over $100 million in its second weekend of release. (Only three films had done it previously.)
The month of March could be a big one for African American director Ava DuVernay. She directs the Disney "fantasy/adventure" A Wrinkle in Time, which also stars Oprah Winfrey. Also due out in March is the Tyler Perry directed movie Acrimony, starring Taraji P. Henson and April delivers a new movie starring Halle Berry called Kings.
Previously when Eddie Murphy or Will Smith had a big hit movie Hollywood would simply give us more Eddie Murphy or Will Smith movies and when those movies tanked at the box office they would say, "see, minorites don't come out and support movies." But now, the lesson seems to be sinking in with Hollywood executives. If you put people who look like us in positive roles in movies we will come out and see them.