Film Dialogue from 2,000 screenplays, Broken Down by Gender and Age

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BY HANAH ANDERSON AND MATT DANIELS

The prevailing theme: white men dominate movie roles.

But it’s all rhetoric and no data, which gets us nowhere in terms of having an informed discussion. How many movies are actually about men? What changes by genre, era, or box-office revenue? What circumstances generate more diversity?

In January 2016, researchers reported that men speak more often than women in Disney’s princess films. The claim was validated with double the sample size, 30 Disney films, including Pixar. The results: 22 of 30 Disney films have a male majority of dialogue. Even films with female leads, such as Mulan, the dialogue swings male. Mushu, her protector dragon, has 50% more words of dialogue than Mulan herself.

This analysis was for compiling real data. Framed as a census rather than a study. Googled their way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.

The analysis contains aging out of Hollywood: Men vs. Women; dialogue, by Cast Member and Gender and other interesting aspects of movie dialogues.

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