Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Breaking Barriers by Breaking Box Office Records
Diversity In Front of and Behind the Camera is driving results at Universal Pictures and Focus Features. In 2015, the studios released a number of groundbreaking films written and directed by women and people of color, and audiences all over the world responded through tremendous turnouts.
Fifty Shades of Grey was the highest-grossing live-action opening ever by a female director and has grossed more than $570 million at the global box office to date. A trio of women worked to adapt the bestselling book and global phenomenon to film: director Samantha Taylor-Johnson, screenwriter Kelly Marcel, and producer E. L. James, who authored the trilogy.
Breaking the record for highest-grossing live action film musical opening was Pitch Perfect 2, directed by Elizabeth Banks and written by Kay Cannon. The follow up to 2012’s smash hit out-grossed the domestic lifetime total of Pitch Perfect ($65 million) in its first weekend.
Breakout comedic star Amy Schumer wrote and starred in the R-rated comedy Trainwreck, which grossed more than $110 million at the domestic box office.
Focus Features also saw women In Front of and Behind the Camera. Suffragette starred Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meryl Streep as early women’s rights activists. It was directed by Sarah Gavron from an original screenplay by Abi Morgan, and was produced by Alison Owen and Faye Ward.
The Danish Girl, with a screenplay by Lucinda Coxon, told the remarkable love story of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe and her wife Gerda Wegener; portraying Gerda, Alicia Vikander won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Universal’s acclaimed Straight Outta Compton reached $200 million at the worldwide box office — the seventh Universal title to reach this milestone in 2015. The film, which starred O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, and Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella, posted the biggest R-rated August opening ever and held the top spot at the domestic box office for three weeks in a row. Additionally, it became the highest-grossing music biopic of all time, topping the record held by Walk the Line, and it became the highest-grossing film in history from an African American director, F. Gary Gray.
Recognition and praise for Straight Outta Compton reached far beyond its box office success. The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) voted Straight Outta Compton its Top Film of 2015, and the movie earned additional AAFCA awards for Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor (Jason Mitchell). It was also granted the Film of the Year Award from the American Black Film Festival, and NAACP Image Awards for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor.
The highest-grossing franchise in Universal Pictures’ history is Fast & Furious, with more than $3.9 billion in worldwide revenue for the seven films in the series. In April 2015, Furious 7 had a big opening weekend driven by Hispanic moviegoers, who accounted for 37% of the total opening weekend audience. The film was directed by Malaysian-born Australian film director James Wan and featured diverse actors, including: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Jordana Brewster.