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Hollywood is ignoring Latinos but theatre stock plunge shows Latinos may be the heroes in this saga

Marisa Treviño

Many a desktop across the country, and the world, start their days staring at the Google homepage. It’s not just for its popular search engine that ‘draws’ (pun intended) people to its site but the anticipation of what its next creative doodle will be.

Today, the Google Doodle featured Dolores del Rio, a Mexican actress credited for being the first Latin American cross-over talent. According to the short bio by Google, Del Rio was a trailblazer both inside and outside of Hollywood.

…She was the first woman to sit on the jury of the Cannes film festival. She co-founded the Society for the Protection of the Artistic Treasures of Mexico, a group dedicated to preserving historical buildings and artwork in her home country. In 1970, she helped open a center to provide childcare for members of the Mexican Actor’s Guild…

The timing of highlighting Del Rio seems a little suspect since it’s only been several days since USC Annenberg researchers released (yet another) tattletale report of Hollywood’s reluctance to cast Latinxs in films.

The dismal timeline of mediocre (and that’s a generous word) progress in Hollywood diversity makes one wonder how Dolores del Rio would have fared in today’s Tinsel Town.

In the report, “Inequality in 900 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race/Ethnicity, LGBT and Disability from 2007-2016,” researchers found that:

  • 54 films had no Latino-speaking characters (the highest among all ethnicities.)
  • Of the top 100 films in 2016, 72 had no Hispanic/Latina actresses
  • In 2016, only 1 movie featured proportional representation of Latinos on screen.

The findings display just how out of touch Hollywood seems to be with who’s going to the movies these days.

In the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) report Theatrical Market Statistics 2016, findings reveal:

Hispanics continued to be overrepresented in the population of frequent moviegoers relative to their proportion of the overall population. In 2016, the number of African American and Asian/Other frequent moviegoers increased compared to 2015, while the number of Caucasian frequent moviegoers declined.

With theaters experiencing a drop in movie attendance and shares of theater stock plunging, Hollywood needs to stop living in LaLa Land and face the reality that Latino moviegoers may be the ones who will save the industry — but only if Hollywood makes films that ‘speak’ to them.

(Featured Photo: Google Doodle celebrating Latina film icon Dolores del Rio.)

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