Breaking Brown

April 17, 2014

Racial Inequality and Hollywood in 2014, By the Numbers [Infographic]

Racial Inequality and Hollywood in 2014, By the Numbers [Infographic]

by Nick Zurko

Following a year that saw a surge in Black films obtaining both commercial and critical success, culminating in the recent Best Picture Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, 2014 has gotten off to a positive start for African-American filmmakers, with audiences turning out for such hits as Ride Along and About Last Night. However, this is hardly the first time that mainstream audiences have been exposed to a broad spectrum of Black voices on screen, only for Hollywood myths, such as Black films do not perform well in the global marketplace to retain their hold over Hollywood executives. Those executives in turn shy away from promoting diversity in the films they finance and market.

In order to place Black film’s “breakthrough” year in a greater historical and statistical context, the New York Film Academy compiled an infographic looking at the accomplishments and hurdles that Black cinema has encountered over the past century.Even in a year when the number of Black movies in the top 100 grossing films was equal to 2011 and 2012 combined, the top five grossing Black films’ combined box office gross was still less than the box office take for the number one grossing film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Yet, when one takes into account the significantly smaller budgets and number of screens these films played on, they still banked a similar Return On Investment (ROI) at the global box office as their big-budget counterpart. In looking at the bigger picture, this infographic highlights how Black filmmakers and actors have made considerable inroads into a biased studio system while looking at the influential and emerging auteurs of Black film that are shaking up studio stereotypes.

New York Film Academy takes a look at black inequality in film


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3 thoughts on “Racial Inequality and Hollywood in 2014, By the Numbers [Infographic]

  1. Watchful says:

    Well, for the most part all we seem to get in the way of so-called ‘black’ films, at least lately, r films where we’re depicted as ‘slaves’ or ‘servants’. If we’re lucky we may get an abundance of ‘rom-coms’ which isn’t such a diverse range to choose from IMO. That’s y I seek out independent (black) films that r produced, at least somewhat, outside of hollywood or ‘hollyweird’ control. Unless and until we gain some control over the distribution aspect of filmmaking we will always have to seek outside help just to get ‘our’ films on enough screens to see any kinda success or profit.

  2. Obsidian71 says:

    Watchful  co-sign.  I have nothing against black Movie Director/Producers but my patience is wearing thin for RomCom caricatures, Butler/Maid movies and racebending inessentials (Heimdahl, black Annie, black Human Torch)  

    I’ve read that Vin Diesel and Halle Barry want to make Hannibal films but that’s going to be a tough sell since  Carl Franklin couldn’t get The Last Pharaoh greenlit with Will Smith supposedly onboard. 

    So let’s get this straight.  A movie with a bankable black actor fighting light brown people couldn’t get made yet we believe that a movie about Hannibal ( a man of questionable ethnicity) can be made showing him murdering thousands of Romans?   Not going to happen

    Hollywood is placating blacks by racebending traditionally white roles because they don’t want to appease and relent to letting black stories be told.

  3. Watchful says:


    Totally agree. I think part of the problem, too, is that so many of our ppl r so desperate to see themselves on the big screen that they accept whatever crap Hollyweird puts out with a black actor(s) in it no matter how we’re being depicted. We gotta stop settling for the crap and demand better. There’s no sense in paying to be disrespected. Plus, with all the new technology we do have some options.

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