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Studio Movies Directed by Filmmakers of Color Coming Out in 2021, 2022, 2023, and Beyond

From "The Eternals" to the untitled Jordan Peele, here's a look at how Hollywood is responding to pressure to diversify the director's chair.

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Marvel

2018 was a watershed moment for diversity in Hollywood. High-profile studio films directed by filmmakers of color made history: Ava DuVernay became the first black woman to direct a film that grossed over $100 million with “A Wrinkle in Time”; “Crazy Rich Asians” was a huge hit, grossing over $238 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade; and “Black Panther,” the most expensive Marvel movie led by a black superhero, grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, shattering the belief that black films don’t sell overseas.

The problem lies in the follow-through, an inconsistency problem that has plagued Hollywood for decades. In 2019, according to IndieWire’s own research, out of the top 100 movies of 2019, the number directed by filmmakers of color fell from 26 percent in 2018 to 18 percent in 2019. White men still account for over 80 percent of film directors at the studio level (and make up a third of the U.S. population).

Of the 1,200 highest-grossing films of the last decade, 96 percent were directed by men, according to a 2019 report from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Ultimately, this reflects the lack of diversity among senior executive positions at Hollywood studios and lasting change is unlikely until the institutions strive to make core leadership positions reflect the diversity in the country.

Hollywood gets a pass for the year 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the entire industry for much of the year, derailing production schedules and pushing back release dates as more films streamed at home. Now, as vaccinations proliferate, restrictions lift, and audiences trickle back into movie theaters, we’ll see how much the pandemic affected the business and its future. The industry will remain under tremendous pressure to amplify the voices of filmmakers of color.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Looking ahead, IndieWire has taken an early snapshot of racial and ethnic diversity among directors at the studio level. As of this writing, that picture doesn’t suggest marked improvement.

Companies will continue to shift release dates, acquire festival titles, announce new projects, and replace directors. Taika Waititi’s Searchlight title “Next Goal Wins” wrapped post production in January 2020 and has no release date. Antoine Fuqua’s “Infinity” was originally slated as a Paramount Pictures theatrical release; now it will premiere in June on Paramount+.

Hollywood studio release schedules into 2022 are stockpiled with films originally scheduled for release in 2020. “Eternals,” directed by Chloé Zhao, originally set to be released November 6, 2020, is now scheduled for November 5, 2021; “In the Heights,” directed by Jon M. Chu, which was to be released on June 26, 2020, was moved to June 11, 2021.

Here is the list of studio films directed by filmmakers of color set for release throughout the rest of 2021, into 2022, 2023 and beyond. Following each title is the director’s name and the film’s release date.

B25_39456_RC2James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas) inNO TIME TO DIE, an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios filmCredit: Nicola Dove© 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in “No Time to Die

Nicola Dove

Disney

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Destin Daniel Cretton, September 3, 2021
“Eternals,” directed by Chloé Zhao, November 5, 2021
“Nightmare Alley,” Guillermo del Toro, December 3, 2021
“Turning Red,” Domee Shi, March 11, 2022
“Thor: Love and Thunder,” Taika Waititi, May 6, 2022
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Ryan Coogler, July 8, 2022
“The Marvels,” Nia DaCosta, November 11, 2022

MGM

“Respect,” Liesl Tommy, August 13, 2021
“No Time to Die,” Cary Fukunaga, October 8, 2021
“Legally Blonde 3,” directed by Jamie Suk, May 22, 2022
“Creed III,” Michael B. Jordan, November 23, 2022

Paramount

“Infinite,” directed by Antoine Fuqua, June 2021 (Date TBD)

Sony

“Nine Days,” Edson Oda, July 30, 2021
“Don’t Breathe 2,” Rodo Sayagues, August 13, 2021
“A Journal for Jordan,” Denzel Washington, December 10, 2021
“Untitled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel,” Kemp Powers co-directs (with Joaquim Dos Santos and Justin K. Thompson), October 7, 2022

Universal

“Blue Bayou,” Justin Chon, June 25, 2021
“Fast & Furious 9,” Justin Lin, June 25, 2021
“The Forever Purge,” Everardo Gout, July 2, 2021
“Old,” directed by M. Night Shyamalan, July 23, 2021
“Candyman,” Nia DaCosta, August 27, 2021
“Fast & Furious 10,” Justin Lin, April 2, 2022
“Untitled Jordan Peele horror film,” Jordan Peele, July 22, 2022

Warner Bros.

“In the Heights,” Jon M. Chu, June 11, 2021
“Space Jam 2,” Malcolm D. Lee, July 16, 2021
“Reminiscence,” Lisa Joy, August 20, 2021
“Malignant,” James Wan, September 10, 2021
“King Richard,” Reinaldo Marcus Green, November 19, 2021
“Aquaman 2,” directed by James Wan, December 16, 2022
“The Color Purple,” Blitz Bazawule, December 20, 2023

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