With the Oscars up and coming a lot of people are pissed of that Selma isn't getting the attention they feel it deserves. Which prompts twitter and tumblr to erupt about how there isn't more representation in hollywood for their specific group and how all of hollywood is racist. It seems to completely escape them that making movies is a business a multi-billion dollar business. Which means you need to appeal and market to your biggest demographic and guess what demographic that is?
They account for 63% of movie goers in the North American market (US and Canada) the next largest demographic is Hispanic at 17% that means a Caucasian person is almost 4 times more likely to go see a film than anyone else. So if you're making a big budget film and you know that the majority of your customer base is going to be Caucasian what do you do? You white wash the fuck out of that movie and market to the largest demographic because you gotta get paid.
"That's just North America though the rest of the world is different"
Not so much. North America makes up around 33% ($10.5B)of the total market by far and away the biggest market. China is the next largest market with around $3.6B which accounts for around 10% of the market. It takes the top 5 international markets to equal the North American market. The top five are China, Japan, UK, France, and India which means 3 out of the 5 have a minority Caucasian population.
"BUT the reason we don't go see movies is because we aren't represented"
Oh? So if someone were to make a movie for African Americans, Starring African Americans, Written, produced, and directed by African Americans it would blow the box office away? Well let's look at movies that had large African American cast members from 2013.
1. The Butler - $116M
2. 12 Years a Slave - $56M
3. After Earth - $63M
4. The Call - $51M
5. Peeples - $9.1M
6. Luv - $138,000
7. Mandela Long Walk to Freedom - $8.1M
8. Mother of George - $142,000
9. Blue Caprice - $87,000
10. Best Man Holiday - $70M
All movies with a large African American cast and if you add up all of them they wouldn't be in the Top 3 grossing movies of 2013. In fact the only movie in that list to even get in the top 25 is The Butler and it was number 25 exactly. Now pretend you have $50M you're looking to invest do you put it in Iron Man 3 or 12 Years a Slave?
I'm not saying Hollywood isn't filled with a bunch of racist pricks I'm sure it is but if there was another demographic as viable as Caucasians in North America you had better believe that there would be a line of producers ready to drop coin to cash in. However history has shown the African American and Hispanic communities don't come out in droves to support films even when tailored to them. So until that changes expect producers in Hollywood to put a nice coat of white paint on everything with a side of mayonnaise because they have a movie to sell they're not trying to make a statement on a summer blockbuster they're trying to make a billion dollars on.