— #Furious7 (@FastFurious) April 6, 2015
When a movie franchise hits its seventh installment, it’s usually so stale and lame no one wants to watch it. Not the case with Furious 7, which topped the weekend box office with a staggering $384 million take over the weekend, $143.6 million in the US alone. The Hollywood Reporter says it’s the fourth best debut ever for a movie.
And it was a diverse audience driving ticket sales, particularly Hispanics. The folks at Universal say 75 percent of the audience for Furious 7 were not white: 37 percent Hispanic (the most frequent moviegoers), 25 percent Caucasian, 24 percent African American and 10 percent Asian.
“The importance of diversity of the ensemble cast in the Fast and Furious franchise has been an integral part of the success of the brand. There is literally someone within the cast that is relatable on some level to nearly every moviegoer around the world, and this has paid big dividends at the box office and also in terms of how casting decisions will be made in the future for these types of large-scale action epics,” said Rentrack analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
Should we expect another groundbreaking Deadline article about diversity in Hollywood?
Joking aside, we’re seeing that the move toward more diversity may be going beyond television. This year’s Oscars got an ear full because of their lack of diversity. Certainly, this blockbuster weekend isn’t going to go unnoticed among Hollywood execs. We now have dollars-and-cents evidence that diversity pays. (Not to mention the fact that diversity of all kinds is just a good thing overall.)
But getting back to the financial flexing that Hispanics did this weekend, Fusion takes a closer look at just how much of a box office impact Hispanics have had overall lately. Sixty-three percent of moviegoers are white, 17 percent (the next largest group) are Hispanic. And Hispanics contributed greatly to the success of movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Lego Movie.
More and more, diversity is driving the success of projects and campaigns that target a broad audience. If you haven’t had the incentive up to this point, now is the time to build a strong roster of multicultural practitioners who can speak to the diverse backgrounds of the many people you’re hoping to appeal to. This is more than just Spanish speakers, a few brown faces, or token members of the LGBT community. It’s a commitment to reaching out to different demographics to seek out talent and bring them on board before your competition beats you to it.