For this report, GLAAD focused its analysis on the seven film studios that had the highest theatrical grosses from films released in 2016, as reported by the box office database Box Office Mojo. Those seven are:
- 20th Century Fox
- Lionsgate Entertainment
- Paramount Pictures
- Sony Columbia Pictures
- Universal Pictures
- The Walt Disney Studios
- Warner Brothers
This report examines films that were released theatrically during the 2016 calendar year (January 1 to December 31) under the official studio banners and imprints. Films released by these studio’s "art house" divisions (such as Fox Searchlight) were analyzed separately and not part of the parent studio's final tally or grade. The total number of films released by major studios that fell within the research parameters is 125.
GLAAD separately analyzed the films released under four smaller studio imprints that are sometimes referred to as "art house" divisions. This was done to compare the quantity and quality of LGBTQ representations in these studios' releases directly to parent companies. These specialty films are typically distributed and marketed to a much smaller audience than their major studio counterparts. These distinctions were informed in part by the box office reporting of Box Office Mojo and other entertainment industry databases. The total number of films that fell within the research parameters is 41. These divisions include:
- Focus Features
- Fox Searchlight
- Roadside Attractions
- Sony Pictures Classics
Each film was researched and reviewed for inclusion of LGBTQ characters. The total number of LGBTQ characters was recorded for each film, as well as each character's race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The films were also reviewed for the presence of general LGBTQ content and anti-LGBTQ language or "humor," though because such content must be considered in context, the language was not quantified for this report.
Additionally, each film was assigned to one of five genre categories:
- Fantasy/science fiction
The family category included animated and children’s films rated PG and under. The category of fantasy/science fiction also included horror films and action films not rooted in reality rated PG-13 and above. In the case of films that clearly straddled genre lines, categories were assigned based on the predominant genre suggested by both the film and its marketing campaigns.
Based on the overall quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ representation, a grade was then assigned to each studio: Excellent, Good, Insufficient, Poor, or Failing.
We must also recognize that some of the films counted here as LGBTQ-inclusive will not necessarily be seen as such by everyone. Every year GLAAD finds characters that must be subjectively interpreted to be seen as LGBTQ, require external confirmation of the filmmakers' intentions, or rely on pre-existing knowledge of source material or a public figure on whom a character is based.
Note: Prior to the 2017 report, GLAAD assigned studios scores on a four point scale of Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing.