Considering the quality, quantity, and diversity of films distributed under Paramount Global and its labels, GLAAD has given Paramount Global a FAIR grade.
Given Paramount’s lack of inclusive films in 2021, it is exciting progress to see LGBTQ inclusion in its 2022 slate. The addition of lesbian character Mindy to the Scream franchise opened the door for further inclusion in the sequels, and LGBTQ characters were a welcome sight in award season flick Babylon and simultaneous streaming and theatrical film On the Come Up.
As for Paramount+, certain films such as Blues Big City Adventure and The In Between had brief inclusion and would have benefited from further fleshing out their LGBTQ characters. A huge standout in Paramount+ was the young adult film Three Months, which focused on a gay teen getting tested for HIV and was a GLAAD List script. Stories surrounding those living with HIV are incredibly underrepresented across all forms of media, and Three Months is an excellent example of the content GLAAD strives to make commonplace to erase the stigma around HIV.
Overall, GLAAD encourages Paramount to expand its representation in blockbuster films and major franchises, particularly as it comes to including more diverse characters, and to create more films like Three Months where LGBTQ characters lead the narrative.
The Famous Players Film Company, founded in 1912, entered a three-way merger in 1916 to form Paramount Pictures. In 1994, the Viacom Network acquired Paramount. Paramount’s streaming service launched in 2014 as CBS All Access, introducing original programming in 2016. As CBS re-merged into ViacomCBS in 2019 (now Paramount Global), the company expanded its library of content to include Paramount Pictures and officially relaunched its streaming service as Paramount+ in 2021. Paramount also became the first major studio to sign a multi-picture deal with Netflix in 2018, although current Paramount films stream on Paramount+.
Starting in the mid-nineties and early aughts, Paramount began releasing LGBTQ-inclusive films, including the comedy In and Out (1997), which received substantial press for a kiss between Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck and remains in the top 10 highest grossing LGBTQ films alongside The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). There were numerous LGBTQ-themed films from this time period such as Home for the Holidays (1995), Clueless (1995), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), Brain Candy (1996), Kiss Me Guido (1997), Election (1999), The Next Best Thing (2000), and The Hours (2002). In 2016, Paramount released Star Trek: Beyond, which showed Hikaru Sulu with his husband and daughter; this intersectional inclusion in a large and recognizable franchise was a groundbreaking step in the right direction for representation. Paramount’s recent LGBTQ-inclusive films include GLAAD Media Award nominee Rocketman (2019), Like a Boss (2020), and the GLAAD Media Award recognized short film Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker (2021).