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Why Animated Movies Matter More Than Ever In 2015

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Hollywood still has a lot of work to do in terms of bringing a wide variety of characters to the screen, but as far as diversity goes, it looks like animated films are now leading the way.

A new study from the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California shows that while most Hollywood movies are still about straight white men, 2014’s animated films saw a noted uptick in speaking characters who don’t fit that description.

Compared to 2007, animated movies in 2014 saw a 25.4 percent increase in underrepresented identities onscreen. Most of those characters appeared in The Book of Life, the family film about the Day of the Dead that takes place in Mexico. But even if you take that movie out of the equation, animated films still saw a “significant” increase in their diversity numbers from 2007 to 2014.

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The study noted that women get less than a third as many speaking roles as men, and of the 700 films studied, only 11 percent had gender-balanced casts. Animated movies still tend to focus on white male characters, but they’re doing better in terms of featuring women and girls than any other genre.

Could a Hollywood revolution be coming from studios like Pixar and Dreamworks? We’ll have to wait and see, but so far female-centered flicks like Inside Out and Home are making 2015 look better than ever.

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