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Movie attendance stats only prove that diversity in films can increase attendance. According to new figures, for the first time since 2009 the number of African Americans catching a flick has increased. The latest MPAA report on movie-going found that the number of African Americans going to the movies increased significantly in 2013.

“MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd and National Association of Theatre Owners chairman/president John Fithian attributed the jump to a diverse slate of films, including a proliferation of titles featuring African-American themes and stars, including Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Oscar-winner 12 Years a Slave, and Kevin Hart comedies The Best Man Holiday and Black Nativity,” reports The Hollywood Reporter.

In fact, more than 170 million African Americans went to the cinema in 2013. This amounted to a 13 percent jump compared to about 150 million the year before.

Minorities in general account for a larger percentage of ticket buyers last year. Hispanics see more films than any other group, totaling 25 percent of ticket buyers even though they only comprise 17 percent of the population. Meanwhile African Americans represent 12 percent of the population and bought 13 percent of all tickets. Asian and other minorities (about eight percent of the population) purchased eight percent of total tickets sold.

When looking at Caucasians, they only bought 54 percent of all tickets, even though they are 60 percent of the total U.S. population. Caucasians also went to the movies less frequently, falling below 50 percent for the first time.

“Last year, I addressed the need to appeal to diverse audiences. Here again, we see progress. The year 2013 in the U.S. brought the highest-grossing Spanish-language movie of all time with Instructions Not Included. Perhaps even more telling, more movies in 2013 featured more black actors in important roles that drove more patrons to the theaters. That’s why we saw substantial growth in moviegoing for African-Americans and other minorities,” Fithian said during his annual speech at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, where theater owners are holding their annual convention.

Director John Singleton, however, feels Hollywood can go even further in promoting diversity by not merely making African-Americans films but also by hiring black directors who he feels may be better suited to depict the African-American experience.

Minorities also turned out for Hollywood blockbusters as well. The MPAA report found that only 50 percent of Man of Steel‘s audience was Caucasian, followed by Asian and other (18 percent), Hispanic (14 percent) and African-American (11 percent).

What movies did you see?

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