Women have been making films for more than 100 years, but they’re still startlingly outnumbered in Hollywood.
So here’s another depressing (but not surprising) stat to add to the gender inequality debate – despite the proportion of female filmmakers rising in 2017, women still only made up 11% of directors in charge of last year’s top movies.
A new study, conducted by San Diego State University, found that only 11% of the highest-grossing movies in the US last year were directed by women – up from 7% the previous year.
It was the first time the figure had reached double figures since 2000, when it was also 11% – but let’s face it – it’s still pathetically low.
Looking at the US box office’s top 250 films of 2017, researchers found out that women made up just 18% of people behind the camera including directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers. That figure is barely higher than the 17% who held such roles 20 years ago, in 1998.
The study also found that 83% of the top 250 films had no female writers at all.
The most successful film with a female director in 2017 was Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman ,which was the ninth top-grossing film of the year, compared to 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby made by Sharon Maguire, which was way down in 35th – plus, in that year only four of the top 100 movies were directed by women.
Despite Jenkins being one of only four women ever to direct a movie with more than a $100 million budget and earning both critical and commercial acclaim for Wonder Woman, which made $821,847,012 at the international box office, she was snubbed from this year’s Golden Globe Awards.
However, in front of the camera, films fronted by women topped the US box office in 2017, marking the first time this has happened in half a century.
Topping the list of the highest-grossing movies in the US was Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which earned $533.1 million, overtaking Beauty and the Beast‘s $504 million in the US and Canada, and Wonder Woman, which made $412.6 million.
(At the worldwide box office, Beauty and the Beast came out on top, with The Last Jedi in third.)
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it’s a transformative time for women in Hollywood, with the issue of sexism and gender equality also being a big talking point.
This was addressed by actress Natalie Portman at Sunday night’s Golden Globes (January 7) when she introduced the Best Director category as “the all-male nominees”.
The nominations for next month’s BAFTA Film Awards were also announced earlier this week – and, again, the Best Director category was exclusively male.
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