Title: Universal’s “Bros” Dominates Transgender Representation in Top-Grossing Films of 2022
Subtitle: USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Report Highlights Limited Progress in LGBTQ+ and Racial/Ethnic Representation in Hollywood
Universal’s recent release, “Bros,” has paved the way for better representation in Hollywood by becoming the first widely-distributed gay romantic comedy from a major studio. However, despite its historic significance, the film only managed to generate $14.7 million in global box office earnings. These findings were revealed in the annual report conducted by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which analyzed the representation of various marginalized communities in the top-grossing films from 2007 to 2022.
As the report details, out of 69,858 speaking characters evaluated over the years, only 2.1% were identified as LGBTQ+. This alarming statistic highlights the ongoing lack of diversity in the portrayal of sexual and gender minorities in mainstream cinema. However, Universal Studios’ “Bros” managed to capture the attention of audiences, accounting for a staggering 80% of all transgender characters in the top-grossing films of 2022.
On the topic of racial and ethnic representation, the report highlights the need for greater inclusivity in Hollywood. The study found that there has been no significant improvement in LGBTQ+ character representation since 2014. Moreover, despite a small increase in Asian characters between 2007 and 2022, progress in addressing the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic groups remains stagnant.
The report further indicates that only one film out of the sampled movies in 2022 featured a gender nonbinary character. This serves as a reminder of the limited on-screen visibility and recognition given to nonbinary individuals, which underlines the importance of more diverse representation.
While strides have been made in the field of women composers, with a record-breaking 10 female composers working on films in 2022 compared to just one in 2007, the inclusion of women directors, writers, and producers remains disappointingly unchanged. The study illustrates that there is still a long way to go in breaking down gender barriers within the industry.
The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s comprehensive analysis emphasizes the need for Hollywood studios to increase efforts in promoting diversity and inclusivity. It is crucial for the industry to provide authentic and representative narratives to foster a more inclusive cinematic landscape, not only for underrepresented groups but for all moviegoers.
As audiences continue to demand more diverse storytelling, it is essential for studios to recognize the importance and value of representation, both in front of and behind the camera. Only through deliberate and sustained efforts will the film industry be able to reflect the full spectrum of human experiences and truly resonate with a global audience.