Oscar 2006: Diversity in Films and Actors Good for Business Overseas

Feb 23, 2007–According to the Associated Press, the increasing inclusion of actors from around the world in the casts of Hollywood films is not only a reflection of the growing globalism of the film industry, but also good for movie business, particularly overseas.

The 2007 slate of Academy Award nominees is the most racially diverse ever, reflecting booming movie ticket sales around the world. The crop of nominated films includes several told wholly or in part in languages other than English, such as Clint Eastwoods Letters from Iwo Jima, in Japanese, and Mel Gibsons Apocalypto, in a Mayan dialect

The ensemble film Babel spans several countries and at least four languages (among them, English, Moroccan, Japanese, and Spanish) and produced an Oscar nomination for Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi as well as for Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Mexican supporting actress Adriana Barraza.

Other international nominees include Benin-born Djimon Honsou for Blood Diamond, Spains Penelope Cruz, nominated for best actress for her role in Volver, and vying in the same category British stars Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal, Kate Winslet for Little Children and front-runner Helen Mirren for her title role in The Queen.

Big-studio films once made the bulk of their revenues from ticket sales in the U.S. But that was before movies became just another weekend alternative, competing against cable television, video games, and DVDs.

In recent years, that relationship has shifted in part because of a growing number of state-of-the-art cinemas around the world, which has increased international demand for film.
American studios are making more money from the overseas box office than they do from the U.S. take, and even more from DVD sales, which are international in scope.

Hollywood has always exported American stars overseas, but also has known that international cast members can help boost profits outside the United States.

The Numbers

In 2000, for instance, Hollywood sold about $7.66 billion worth of tickets in the U.S., compared to $12.2 billion overseas, including Europe, Asia and Canada, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

In 2005, domestic ticket sales were $8.99 billion while international sales were $14.3 billion.

And this year

Stay tuned.