In 2018, diversity in Hollywood films has improved for people of color and female characters with a higher number of people of color and women being cast in lead roles in the top 100 highest-grossing films of 2018.

The University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative  studied the top 100 grossing films shown in the US in 2018. The study found that 40 of the films had a female lead or co-lead, compared to 32 in 2017. The current number (40) is the highest since the start of the study in 2007.

Although the results were significant developments, there is still so much support needed for more representation and inclusion in film.

Of the 40 films, 11 featured lead characters coming from “under-represented racial/ethnic groups”, and 11 had characters aged at least 45 years old. There were only 4 and 5 films respectively in each grouping in 2017.

There was also an increase of the wider picture on diversity – 28 films with lead or co-lead characters from under-represented groups from 21 in 2017. It’s a significant increase compared to 13 in the first study in 2007 and 9, the lowest count ever, in 2011.

Among the films mentioned to have contributed to diversity improvement are Marvel superhero movie Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians.

Annenberg Inclusion Initiative director, Dr Stacy L Smith, said that “2018 offers hope that industry members have taken action to create content that better reflects the world in which we live, and the box office seems to have rewarded them for it.” The box office gross shows that change can be achieved.