LGBT-inclusive movies performed better at the box office, a new research by Monash University has found.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Business Ethics, analysed the box-office revenue earned by around 4126 films. The study showed that movies that included LGBT characters or plots, did better at the box office than films that had no LGBT content. 

LGBT-Inclusive Films Are Big Business

“Our findings show that LGBT-inclusive movies earned a staggering 29% more revenue at the box office than movies with no LGBT content,” said Yimin Cheng, a senior lecturer at the Monash Business School, who led the research. 

“With global box-office revenue reaching $42 billion in 2019, this means LGBT-inclusive films are big business on and off-screen,” said Cheng in a statement. 

The researchers placed the films in three categories – non-LGBT movies, LGBT-themed movies and LGBT-inclusive movies. 

“Our research found that using LGBT-inclusive representation increases movies’ market performance,” said Cheng.

Broader Appeal

LGBT-inclusive movies, which had LGBT characters and plots but were not the main focus had a much broader appeal, according to the researchers. 

“The advantage of LGBT-inclusive movies came from their ability to appeal to a broader audience base with both favourable and unfavourable LGBT attitudes. Interestingly, although LGBT-themed movies, such as Brokeback Mountain and The Kids Are All Right were not as commercially successful as LGBT-inclusive movies, their reception kept improving over the years, and they performed equally as well as non-LGBT movies more recently,” said Cheng. 

The research also pointed out that shows on TV which had LGBT representation, like Modern Family, Schitt’s Creek and Grey’s Anatomy,  were successful. 

More LGBT Characters In Films And On TV

GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index report in 2021 found that around 22.7% of the films distributed by the major studios in 2020 featured LGBT characters, up from 18.6% in 2019. “20 LGBTQ characters who were featured in last year’s crop of 10 LGBTQ-inclusive films were more diverse, saw a significant increase in screen time and were featured in a higher percentage of films than in 2019,” GLAAD had said.

In February 2022, GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV report found that there were 637 LGBTQ primetime scripted series regulars and recurring characters on broadcast networks, cable networks and streaming services for the 2021-2022 TV season.

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