Trends: Hollywood Adopts Inclusion Riders

Michael B. Jordan (Mashable)

Michael B. Jordan (Mashable)

Many people only learned of the term “inclusion rider” when actress Frances McDormand mentioned it during her acceptance speech for the Best Actress Oscar at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Curiosity about the term was so high that Merriam-Webster later reported via Twitter that “inclusion” was the dictionary’s most-searched term during the Oscars ceremony. (“Rider” came in fourth.)

(For those who haven’t yet heard, an inclusion rider is a clause in an actor’s contact that states that the hiring for positions on set must be inclusive. This clause can also be called an equity rider. The rider was invented by Stacy L. Smith, professor at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism along with lawyer Kalpana Kotagal. If you’re curious about what an inclusion rider looks like, here’s an inclusion rider template.)

Following the concept’s wave of exposure, others in Hollywood are making a commitment to inclusiveness in their projects official with the rider. “Black Panther” actor Michael B. Jordan announced that his production company Outlier Society Productions would adopt the inclusion rider for its projects. Jordan is the first major actor to adopt the rider following McDormand’s Oscars speech. Actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have also announced that their joint production company Pearl Street Films will also adopt an inclusion rider.

I certainly hope others take up this cause to the point that we no longer need inclusion riders.


Google Trends: Inclusion Rider

Frances McDormand, Oscars 2018 (The Independent UK)

Frances McDormand, Oscars 2018 (The Independent UK)

With Frances McDormand mentioning the inclusion rider clause during her speech while accepting the Best Actress Oscar, I wondered how the concept was rising as a search term. Let’s take a look using Google Trends!

First, here’s how the search term “inclusion” performed over the last 12 months:

Google Trends: Search Term "Inclusion" Over the Past 12 Months (Google Trends)

Google Trends: Search Term “Inclusion” Over the Past 12 Months (Google Trends)

See that spike? That was for the week of March 4-10, 2018. The Oscars took place on Sunday, March 4. No coincidence there!

Here are the search term’s top five related topics:

Google Trends: "Inclusion" Search Term Related Topics (Google Trends)

Google Trends: “Inclusion” Search Term Related Topics (Google Trends)

Clearly, McDormand was a large driver of traffic in the search term. Another thing to note is that two of the suggested search terms autofilled for “inclusion” are “subset” and “social exclusion.”

Now let’s take a look at how the actual term “inclusion rider” performed:

Google Trends: "Inclusion Rider" Search Term for Past 12 Months (Google Trends)

Google Trends: “Inclusion Rider” Search Term for Past 12 Months (Google Trends)

Another big spike! And in that same week! In this case, correlation equals causation.

Weird thing about the suggested search terms: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck both appear as suggestions, but not Frances McDormand. Hmm. This suggests to me that more people are searching for the term now with regards to Damon and Affleck, but not McDormand.

Here are the related topics for “inclusion rider:”

Google Trends: "Inclusion Rider" Related Topics (Google Trends)

Google Trends: “Inclusion Rider” Related Topics (Google Trends)

That’s pretty straightforward.

It’s pretty cool to see empirical evidence that this concept is gaining awareness! Though Merriam-Webster could already attest to that.

“Inclusion” Was Merriam-Webster’s Most-Searched Term After the Oscars

Frances McDormand, Oscars 2018 (The Independent UK)

Frances McDormand, Oscars 2018 (The Independent UK)

Frances McDormand gave a great speech when she won the Best Actress Oscar at this year’s awards ceremony. And she closed it out with two words: “inclusion rider.”

For those who haven’t yet Googled this term, an inclusion rider is a clause in an actor’s contact that states that the hiring for positions on set must be inclusive. (This clause can also be called an equity rider.)

Apparently, so many people were curious about the term that it caused an interesting side effect:

Merriam-Webster 'Inclusion' Tweet, Oscars 2018 (Twitter)

Merriam-Webster ‘Inclusion’ Tweet, Oscars 2018 (Twitter)

One thing to note is that Merriam-Webster’s tweet on searches for “inclusion” got much more engagement (2.6K likes) than the company’s typical posts. (200-400+ likes). I’m glad people are interested in learning more about this concept!

Jordan Peele Makes History as the First African-American to Win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar

Jordan Peele wins the Best Original Screenplay Oscar at the 2018 Oscars (Time)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 04: Writer/director Jordan Peele accepts Best Original Screenplay for ‘Get Out’ onstage during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Writer/director Jordan Peele made history at the Oscars last night: He became the first African-American to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar! Peele won for his critically acclaimed and popular debut feature “Get Out.” (If you haven’t seen it yet, SEE IT NOW!!)

Peele was only the fourth African-American person to be nominated for the category. Past nominees were Suzanne de Passe for “Lady Sings the Blues” (which came out in 1972), Spike Lee for “Do the Right Thing” (1989) and John Singleton for “Boyz N the Hood (1991).

Congrats to Peele, and I can’t wait to see what else he does!!


Women in Entertainment: Women Hire Women (No Shit)

'Pitch Perfect 3,' 2018 (Indiewire)

‘Pitch Perfect 3,’ 2018 (Indiewire)

Does it surprise anyone that women are more likely to hire women than men are likely to hire women? No? Great, than this next piece of information will totally make sense: The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film put out a recent study that examined women’s employment in the entertainment industry in certain high-level behind-the-scenes capacities (director, writer, composer, etc.) for the top 250 films of 2017 and the top 100 and top 500 films of 2015.

What this study, aptly titled “The Celluloid Ceiling,” found was that on films with more than one female director, more women were hired for other top roles. The study looked at the incidence of women being hired as writers, editors, cinematographers and composers, and that incidence went up dramatically (ha) when women were also directors, or at least one director.

How dramatically? Women directors employed women writers at a 60% increase than male directors, and employed women composers at a 10% increase than male directors.

For those who require their data in visual form, here’s a graph of said increases:

Graph examining incidence of women hired for top-level behind-the-scenes work with at least one female director vs. exclusively male directors ('The Celluloid Ceiling' Report 2018)

Graph examining incidence of women hired for top-level behind-the-scenes work with at least one female director vs. exclusively male directors (‘The Celluloid Ceiling’ Report 2018)

I have to level with everyone here: I definitely assumed I’d see a sizable uptick in women being hired if there was already a women in the top spot (i.e. director). But I had no idea it’s be this large of a difference.

This also begs the question: Which movies are more likely to have women as directors? Though the “The Celluloid Ceiling” report doesn’t answer that directly, it does shed some light on certain genres which may favor women directors a bit more:

By genre, the largest percentage of women, relative to men, worked in documentaries (30%), followed by comedies (23%), dramas (22%), sci-fi features (20%), animated features (19%), horror features (18%), and action features (13%).

Personally, I’d like to see more women in dramas, sci-fi, and horror, but any gain works! Now let’s make more of them!!

By The Numbers: “Black Panther”‘s Audience Breakdown

Shuri (Letitia Wright) in 'Black Panther, 2018 (ESPN FiveThirtyEight)

Shuri (Letitia Wright) in ‘Black Panther, 2018 (ESPN FiveThirtyEight)

As you no doubt have heard by now (and if you haven’t, where are you?!), “Black Panther” is breaking records left and right: It has the second-highest box office gross in its first four days, and is the highest-grossing movie to open over President’s Day weekend (among other records).

One thing that’s happened with the release of the movie is that the audience makeup is slightly different than the usual. Here’s the breakdown!

First, let’s look at race:

Typical Superhero Movie (2016 Average):

  • African-American: 15%
  • Caucasian: 52%
  • Hispanic: 21%

“Black Panther:”

  • African-American: 37%
  • Caucasian: 35%
  • Hispanic: 18%

For those of you who need a visual:

'Black Panther' Audience Make-Up by Demographic (Quartz)

‘Black Panther’ Audience Make-Up by Demographic (Quartz)

Check that out!! The percentage of African-Americans seeing “Blank Panther” was more than double that of the average superhero movie.

The Typical Superhero numbers were pulled from a Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Theatrical Market Statistics report from 2016. “Black Panther” numbers came from audience tracking platform comScore.


Typical Superhero Movie’s Opening Weekend:

  • Male: 60-65%
  • Female: 35-40%

“Black Panther” Opening Weekend:

  • Male: 55%
  • Female: 45%

This is big too! More women wanted to see “Black Panther” on opening weekend than the usual superhero fare. One explanation is that the movie positions many strong, dynamic female characters front and center: Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira).

There you have it, folks: Hard data on the fact that representation matters in media. If you represent inclusivity in your movie, you’ll give a more inclusive audience. And that will translate to bigger bank.

“Black Panther” Has the Biggest President’s Day Box Office with $40.2M

Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther' (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

Chadwick Boseman in ‘Black Panther’ (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

The highly-anticipated Marvel movie “Black Panther” opened last Thursday night, and has already broken records.

“Black Panther” made $40.2M on President’s Day, making it the biggest Monday ever. The record was previously held by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2016, which made $40.1M.

“Black Panther” also made the second-most amount of money in its first four days of opening with $241.6M. The movie now holds the record for the biggest President’s Day weekend opening, “Deadpool” was the previous recordholder, making $152M in 2016. The only movie that made more within its first four days was (you guessed it) “The Force Awakens, which made $288.1M.

Among movie theater chain AMC, the movie became the highest-grossing title in the chain’s history for 80 theaters, which accounts for over 10% of the chain’s theaters. The movie opened in 661 theaters.

Worldwide, “Black Panther” made $426.6M. The movie has yet to open in China, Japan and Russia.