In this report, GLAAD centered its research and analysis on ten studio distributors including any subsidiary distribution labels and majority owned streaming services, which were chosen based on a combination of theatrical box office grosses, Nielsen rankings, cultural and media recognition factors, and breadth of original programming. This report examines films released in the 2022 calendar year (January 1 – December 31) in the United States which were distributed under official studio banners and imprints as reported by Box Office Mojo, the studios and their official channels, and other relevant entertainment reporting sources. The ten distributors examined are in alphabetical order:
- Amazon (this includes Amazon Studios, Amazon Prime, United Artists Releasing and MGM)
- Apple TV+
- NBCUniversal (this includes Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and Peacock)
- Paramount Global (this includes Paramount Pictures and Paramount+)
- Sony Pictures Entertainment (this includes Sony Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, and Crunchyroll)
- The Walt Disney Company (this includes The Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Disney+, and Hulu)
- Warner Bros. Discovery (this includes Warner Bros. and Max)
GLAAD did not include any theatrical re-releases or special events such as filmed live events in this count. Additionally, films which first premiered on a linear television channel were not counted in this tally. For the purposes of this study, GLAAD included feature films and documentaries which had an official run time of 65 minutes or more. The total number of films that met our criteria from the above distributors in the 2022 calendar year was 350.
As film releasing patterns have expanded in recent years, streaming services owned by major studio distributors have begun distributing original films in addition to building a library of externally owned titles. As streaming services gain increased legitimacy through critical acclaim, high profile talent acquisitions, industry reporting, and original film outputs similar to theatrical distributors, this year GLAAD has expanded its methodology to include key streaming services in its evaluation. As streaming services gain increased legitimacy through critical acclaim, high profile talent acquisitions, industry reporting, and original film outputs similar to theatrical distributors, this year GLAAD has expanded its methodology to include key streaming services in its evaluation.
In previous editions of this study, GLAAD analyzed the films released under smaller studio imprints and “art house” divisions separately from the theatrical releases of their parent label. This was done to compare the quantity and quality of LGBTQ representations in these studios’ releases directly to those from parent companies, which typically receive wider release. As the film industry and distribution cycle evolve, GLAAD will now evaluate the overall annual slate of releases, both theatrical and streaming, from all labels of a company as one unit with one overall grade.
For the purposes of this study, GLAAD included studio or label distributed films which were either released theatrically in the U.S. and/or which were ordered from the company’s U.S. production wing. Films which were not released theatrically in the U.S. and which were ordered, developed, and produced by international hubs that operate separately from the primary studio were not included, though some of those films are available to watch on streaming services in the U.S. This type of independent content production is not currently a common practice in U.S. based studios and was seen primarily from Netflix.
Each film was researched and reviewed for inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) characters. The total number of LGBTQ characters was recorded for each film, as well as those characters’ screen time, race/ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The films were also reviewed for the presence of anti-LGBTQ language, “humor,” or stereotypes. Such issues must be considered in context and will be highlighted in the qualitative analysis where applicable, but this language is not quantified in this report.
Each film was assigned to one of six genre categories:
The family category includes animated and children’s films rated PG and under. The category of fantasy/science fiction/action includes action films not rooted in reality rated PG-13 and above. In the instance of films that straddled genres, categories were determined based on the predominant genre suggested by both the film and its marketing campaign.
We recognize that not all audiences will agree with some of the films determined to be LGBTQ-inclusive and vice versa. GLAAD’s methodology is anchored in categorizing characters based solely on what is presented on screen as part of the film and/or through wide and commonly held cultural knowledge of a real-life figure. In cases where an LGBTQ actor or personality appeared as or made a cameo explicitly as themselves and which was made clear within the film, GLAAD counted those characters in its tally. If the talent was not specifically identified as themselves in their scenes, GLAAD did not count those characters based on the actor’s identity. This delineation was made to create a similar comparison to how all other characters are counted, i.e. by what is made clear on screen rather than an actor’s real life identity, source material like a book or comic, or confirmed solely through outside press confirmation.
In large crowd scenes such as a bar or party environment where the camera briefly pans over attendees, GLAAD did not count in its tally any LGBTQ characters who either did not have a speaking role in that scene and/or did not appear in other scenes in the film. This update was made to ensure that findings were not falsely inflated by films which included scenes at LGBTQ bars or events but do not further include those characters. Where there was an explicitly LGBTQ character in a non-speaking role in less populated scenes, that character was counted. This year, GLAAD did not include archival footage that may have appeared in features in its character count.
Based on the overall quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ representation in a company’s total slate of films, a grade was then assigned to each distributor: Excellent, Good, Fair, Insufficient, Poor, or Failing.
Please note: The previous five editions of this study graded studios on a five point scale of Excellent, Good, Insufficient, Poor, or Failing. Prior to the 2017 report, GLAAD assigned studios scores on a four-point scale of Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing. The expansion of graded rankings has been made in service of allowing further nuance in evaluating a distributor’s overall quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ inclusion in its annual slate.
In 2020, due to the unique disruption to theatrical distribution from the COVID-19 global pandemic, GLAAD did not issue traditional grades to the studios in that year’s study, but rather, all studios received a rating of “Not Applicable.” In last year’s report, each studio’s grade included an additional evaluation of a studio and parent company’s public actions and communications with regard to the LGBTQ community. That material has not been considered in grades this year.