Indiewire writer Anne Thompson recently disclosed the MPAA statistics from 2016. She reported many facts about box office numbers, both domestically in the United States and internationally, including digital prominence in cinema, the attraction of 3D technology in Asian countries, and the increase in indie films. One of the most striking discoveries made in this data is the fact that white membership in the theaters declined while attendance increased by ethnic minorities and women. Thompson reports, “The Asian/Other demo is now the fastest-growing group of frequent movie goers (5.6 million)…” Thompson also mentioned that blockbuster films like Finding Dory and The Jungle Book “attracted the largest female audience…”
Many of the films mentioned in the article were big-budget blockbuster films. While these are not usually artistic in the academic sense, it is still great news to hear that women and ethnic minorities are growing in the cinematic landscape. It demonstrates that more perspectives and voices are being added to the creative medium that is film. One could make the argument that a larger audience of minorities might convince studios to include minorities as directors, if only to capitalize on the growing demographic. One could also make the argument that an increase in minority attendance is inspiring more minorities to enter the cinematic universe and contribute more perspectives and ideas, which will strengthen the art form.
It is great to hear that more and more ethnic minorities and women are attending the movie theaters. It gives them more power because their majority attendance drives demand, so more innovative movies that provide their stories may be supplied. Hopefully, this trend will continue in 2017.