USC Study Reveals Hollywood Basically Doesn’t Care About Asian Directors

There was virtually “no change” in the number of directors of Asian descent behind over 1,000 of the highest-grossing films released in the last 10 years, a report has found.

The report, released by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, surveyed each year’s 100 highest-grossing movies between 2007 and 2016. It found that only 34, or 3.4%, had an Asian director.

Photo: MDSC Initiative (Twitter)

Those 34 films were crafted by 17 different people, which is 2.8% of the total pool of 612 unique directors.

Of these 17 Asian directors, only two were women: Jennifer Yuh Nelson (“Kung Fu Panda 2”, “Kung Fu Panda 3”) and Loveleen Tandan (“Slumdog Millionaire”).

Authors Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Dr. Katherine Pieper and Marc Choueiti wrote, “Consistent with female and Black helmers, there has been no change in the percentage of Asian directors from 2007 to 2016.”

Among major film companies it surveyed (20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures and Lionsgate), Universal Pictures, at 10, had the most movies with Asian directors.

Photo: MDSC Initiative (Twitter)

At the opposite of the spectrum were Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, which both had two, and Lionsgate, which only had one. The report’s conclusions read:

“The major film companies have a poor track record of hiring and/or releasing films by female, Black, and/or Asian directors.”

As a solution, the report called for diversity:

“Over a significant period of time the role of the director has been the domain of White men. Unless the industry relies on evidence-based solutions, it is very likely that this trend will continue. It is imperative that entertainment leaders, content creators, and philanthropists work with experts and take steps to remedy the exclusion and erasure of diverse directing voices.”

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