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Film Critics Even Less Diverse Than Films, Study Finds

For the first time,USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has turned its eye to critics, analyzing the gender and race/ethnicity of the authors behind every Rotten Tomatoes review of 2017's 100 highest-grossing movies.

Its new report, "Critic's Choice?" finds that out of 19,559 reviews, 77.8% were written by men and 82% were written by white critics. White men wrote 63.9% of reviews, compared with 4.1% penned by women of color. More reviews were also written by white  women (18.1%) than by men of color (13.8%).

Marc Choueiti, the study's lead author, said in a statement, "Re-examining the definition of a top critic or simply casting a wider net can be the opportunity to open up and diversify the voices heard in the critic space."

45 of last year's 100 highest-grossing films were not reviewed by women of color at all, and over half of the female-driven movies lacked a single review by a top critic who was also an underrepresented woman. This is perhaps because out of the 1,600-plus individual authors in the study's sampling, only 8.9% were women of color. About half (53.2%) were white men, followed by white women (23%) and men of color (14.8%). White male critics were the most prolific, writing an average of 14.3 reviews a year, followed by 11.1 by men of color, 9.4 by white women and finally 5.6 by women of color.

The study authors add that in order for the critic pool to reflect the U.S. population, media outlets and studios that grant access to them should strive for "30-30-20-20" — the breakdown for white men, white women, men of color and female of color, respectively. AII intends to make the case about why critic demographic matters in a series of reports, of which this is the first. The second study will examine differences in review  content based on the critic's gender and/or race/ethnicity, and the third will look at how box-office performance is affected.

Read the full article

About USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative is the leading think tank in the world studying diversity and inclusion in entertainment through original research and sponsored projects. Beyond research, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative develops targeted, research-based solutions to tackle inequality. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative works in three major areas:

RESEARCH: Uses data-driven and theory-based research to offer insight and evidence to industries on where diversity is needed and how to achieve it.

ADVOCACY: Exists to foster inclusion and give a voice to disenfranchised or marginalized groups.

ACTION: Offers simple actions for complex solutions to facilitate social change at the student, industry, and societal level.

For more information, visit the Initiative's website, https://annenberg.usc.edu/research/aii.


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts
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