Black filmmakers found prominence in 2018 after Hollywood became more receptive to public pressure to back projects from a more diverse group of filmmakers.
Fourteen per cent of the directors of the top 100-grossing movies last year were black, according to a new report by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. That is a 270 per cent increase over 2017 and a 200 per cent increase from 2007 in terms of representation, reported variety.com.
This is driven by a campaign like OscarsSoWhite which brought public attention to the lack of representation in Hollywood.
"All of the activism and attention surrounding the issue of diversity, inclusion and belonging has shown that the time has come," said Stacy L. Smith, the report's co-author.
"This is the first time we're reporting a major change in representation behind the camera."
The push for greater diversity in the filmmaking ranks benefited studios' bottom lines.
Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther," Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman" and Steven Caple Jr.'s "Creed II" were all critical and commercial successes.
And while Ava DuVernay's "A Wrinkle in Time" was a box office disappointment, the fantasy adventure represented an important milestone as the first $100 million production to be directed by a black woman.
Nevertheless, women continue to be given fewer directing opportunities than men, the study indicated.
Only four of the top 100-grossing movies last year were helmed by female directors - Kay Cannon ("Blockers"), Abby Kohn ("I Feel Pretty"), Susanna Fogel ("The Spy Who Dumped Me") and DuVernay ("A Wrinkle in Time").
The USC study is the second report this week to highlight the gender imbalance on major movies. A similar report from San Diego State University found that 92 per cent of the top 250 highest-grossing domestic releases had no women directors, 73 per cent had no women writers, and 27 per cent had no women producers.
The Inclusion Initiative was launched by Smith over a decade ago to provide data and research into the lack of equality in the entertainment business.