The number of female filmmakers and directors from underrepresented groups hired by Hollywood execs to helm blockbuster films has significantly dropped in 2022 compared to the previous year, a new study by USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative has found.
According to the report, women account for just 9% of the 111 filmmakers behind the 100 top-grossing movies of 2022, compared to 12.7% in 2021. Only 2.7% of the total were women of color filmmakers.
The decline was also reflected in Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino and multi-racial and multi-ethnic directors as the rate dropped from 27.3% in 2021 to 20.7% in 2022. Broken down into the demographics, the 11 directors were Asian, five were multiracial/multiethnic, four were Black, and three were Hispanic/Latino. The figures show that for every filmmaker of color, there are about 3.8 white directors who helmed last year’s top movies.
Inclusion Initiative founder Dr. Stacy L. Smith said that it has become their tradition to “lament how little things have changed for women and people of color behind the camera in popular film.”
“We’d like to see not only the tradition change but also the hiring practices that continue to marginalize women and people of color as directors,” she noted.
As the study mainly looked into the top-grossing theatrical releases, most films produced for streaming platforms were not included in the report.
USC Annenberg did note some improvements since it started monitoring representation in film direction back in 2007 when only 2.7% of the top-grossing films were from female filmmakers and just 12.5% were from underrepresented communities.
The lowest figure the female directors reached was in 2013 and 2014 at 1.9%, before peaking at 15% in 2020.
According to the USC Annenberg, Sony Pictures worked with the most female filmmakers in 2022 with five directors, while Universal Pictures hired two.
Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, STX Entertainment, 20th Century and Walt Disney Studios were the major distributors that did not hire any female filmmakers for films that released last year.
Meanwhile, Universal Pictures hired the most POC directors in 2022 with five, while Disney worked with four underrepresented filmmakers. Lionsgate, STX and 20th Century Studios hired only white directors in 2022.