Was it Dora that finally discovered the key to diversity at the box office?September 10, 20192 min read
If you have young kids – or have at least been around them over the past 20 years – you’ll know Dora the Explorer, the always polite adventurer who takes excited young viewers on a trek through South America while educating them at the same time.
The star of Nickelodeon has her own theme song, branded toys and clothes, along with a cast of characters who have also become household names.
The show has been a success on the small screen, but the cross-over to live action proved to be gold at theaters, too, and the movie has already grossed more than $80 million at the worldwide box office.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold is a smashing success, and for more reasons than just name recognition.
Dora, played by Isabela Moner, is the strong female lead of a cast that is almost entirely made up of actors from Latin backgrounds. The film continues to show the success of gender and racial diversity in Hollywood.
The move toward increased diversity also includes the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities.
“There is a major push for representation in both of these communities and we're still reaching new milestones there every day,” said A.B. Osborne, assistant professor of animation at Augusta University. "Steven Universe and the recent She-Ra reboot have been major breakthroughs for authentic and positive LGBTQ representation. Steven Universe, for example, had the first same-sex marriage proposal and wedding for a kid's animated series. Rebecca Sugar, the creator, had to work very hard to get Cartoon Network to agree to that moment."
Osborne adds, “Another milestone that means a lot to a good friend of mine who has Asperger's syndrome is the creation of Symmetra from Overwatch. She was the first autistic playable videogame character.
It’s not all positive, however. Disney recently announced that Halle Bailey would be playing Ariel in its remake of The Little Mermaid. The backlash was loud, but Disney has not wavered, stating the young African American actress is perfect for the role.
Diversity and inclusion in film and society is always an important albeit sensitive topic – and if you are covering stories about diversity, let our experts help.
Osborne is an expert in the field of animation, working in everything from classic cartoons to technical and medical animation. He is available to speak with media regarding this topic – simply click on his icon to arrange an interview.
A.B. Osborne Assistant Professor of Animation in Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Department of Art and Design
A.B. Osborne is an expert in the the field of animation working in everything from classic cartoons to technical and medical animation.