The UCLA Hollywood Diversity report has become one of the key ways to assess the overall health of the industry.

After last year's box office bonanza, it's fun to look at the report and see how movies like Barbie, John Wick 4, and Scream used diverse casts to their advantage. And how they were able to draw additional audiences with those casting choices as well.

“After examining global and domestic box-office success and audience demographics for more than a decade, we have repeatedly found that people want to see films that reflect the diversity that exists in their communities and in the world,” saidAna-Christina Ramón, co-founder of the report and director of UCLA’s Entertainment and Media Research Initiative.

These reports matter because they allow you to see who is watching what across Hollywood.

For instance, they reported that people of color drove opening weekend sales for 14 of the top 20 films in 2023. And I was surprised to learn that nine of the top 10 films and 15 of the top 20 films at the global box office had casts where more than 30% of the actors were BIPOC.

But not all is going well.

In 2023, women’s share of writers, lead actors, and overall cast dropped. In fact, just five of the top 200 films were directed by women of color. Only three films directed by women received a budget of $100 million or more, compared to 25 films directed by men.

This is where the numbers get frustrating because women are driving so much money toward the box office; you want to see them helming the tentpoles Hollywood is so intent on creating.

Women should get those opportunities in front of and behind the camera.

In 2023, five of the top 10 films and eight of the top 20 films had casts in which more than 40% of the actors were females. Only one of the top 10 and three of the top 20 films had casts in which more than 20% of the actors had known disabilities.

It seems like diversity has a constant push and pull.

We're seeing landmark trends upward for BIPOC people in 2023, but also in the year of Barbie, seeing the numbers for women woking in theatrical slipping.

There's a huge market demand for these kinds of movies, and when they're good, people flock to them. But we aren't really getting enough of them or enough opportunities for women behind the camera to make a significant dent.

We need these diversity initiatives because Hollywood is always looking for avenues to make more money. That's legitimately what this business comes down to—art and commerce. Well, a whole lot of commerce is being left on the table when you ignore or marginalize audiences.

The way to capitalize on them is in front of and behind the camera. It's been proven.

So, will this ever change?

Time will tell.

Read and download the whole report here.