According to the study, addressing racial inequities in Hollywood, which also includes how projects are distributed and marketed could boost revenues by 7% annually. McKinsey found that production budgets for films with a Black lead or co-lead are on average 24% lower than films that feature white actors.
The study did a deep dive on racial disparity in show business, finding that 87% of TV executives and 92% of film executives are white, while the top three industry talent agencies are 90% white. The study also found that Black actors receive significantly fewer chances to get lead roles than their white counterparts. When looking at the first 10 years of work for the average actor, emerging Black actors get an average of 6 leading roles, while white actors land 10. To that same degree, the study also found that films that didn’t have Black producers are far less likely to have Black directors or writers.
“In any given week, let alone an entire career,” the report’s authors wrote, “a professional working in Hollywood might have to traverse multiple separate entities — agencies, unions and guilds, studios, networks, production houses, financiers, festivals, critics and awards establishments.” Because of the industry’s unique structure of “tight-knit, interdependent networks,” “small and informal” work settings and “temporary and contract-based” work, “a single company’s efforts to change the racial dynamic inside its own four walls can do only so much for the entire ecosystem.”
Also, McKinsey’s report narrowed down 40 specific “pain points” that Black actors and directors commonly face as they try to become more successful in the industry. Much of the report might have already been assumed since we are just now starting to reach more equitable standards, but the study is a stark reminder that there is still much work to be done.