From spy espionage, navigating life as an eighth grader in middle school, executing grand robberies, to fighting the knife-wielding killer Michael Myers, women in film have been up to a lot in 2018.
Yet, the success of this year’s female-led films is constitutive of a trend that has been occurring since 2014.
A new study conducted by Creative Artists Agency and the digital agency shift7 found that between 2014 and 2017, films that starred women made more money than those starring men.
The new economic data dispels the myth that women-led films are not financially viable. The study was conducted in conjunction with a group from the Time’s Up campaign — a movement that has been committed to addressing systemic inequity and injustice in the workplace.
The study examined 350 top-grossing U.S. films released from 2014 through 2017.
The research also found that films that passed the Bechdel test outperformed movies that failed to meet the standards of the test. The Bechdel test is a metric that is applied to film and identifies whether two female characters have a conversation about something other than a man.
Even though having a conversation between two women on a subject other than men is not that high criterion by any means, it is shocking the number of films that do not pass this simple test.
Plus, it was also found that regardless of the film’s budget, movies with female leads outperformed male-led ones in the box office worldwide.
Yet, casting women and especially women of color in leading roles isn’t typical in Hollywood and comes with a lot of hesitation from major studio execs.
As Christy Haubegger, a C.A.A. agent who was part of the research team said in an interview with The New York Times,
“The perception that it’s not good business to have female leads is not true… They’re a marketing asset.”
The new study ultimately confirms that stories that are both led and about women are able to not only garner critical success but commercial success too.
Women make up more than half of the U.S. population — hence there is a huge market and audience ready to see narratives centered around women.