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Films starring women outperform male-led films at box office, study shows

Do you hear that? It's the sound of a select group of movie fans shouting into the void a la the Infinite Abyss featured in Zach Braff's GARDEN STATE. The source of their dejected cries stems from a recent study conducted by the Creative Artists Agency and Shift7 which has found that female-led films outperformed male-led cinematic endeavors on all budgetary levels at the box office during the 2014-17 period. Spinning out of the Time's Up movement, the group is led by producer and former Sony Pictures Chairman Amy Pascal, Shift7's CEO Megan Smith and producer Liza Chasin. Also involved in the study were CAA Agent Alexandra Trustman and Geena Davis (A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT).

In talking about the report, Pascal told reporters that “This is powerful proof that audiences want to see everyone represented on screen,” Pascal remarked. “Decision-makers in Hollywood need to pay attention to this.”

A total of 350 box-office-breaking films released between the years 2014-2017 were analyzed for the purpose of the study, with each being arranged into a category related to the film's production budget: under $10 million, $10 million – $30 million, $30 million – $50 million, $50 million – $100 million, and over $100 million. Ah, but the study was not based on budget alone, no ma'am. To be hailed as a female-led film, candidates had to pass the Bechdal Test, which refers to a measure of representation of women in fiction. Here's how it works: (1) the film has to have at least two women in it; (2) the two women speak to one another in the film; and (3) they speak about something other than a man. (via Variety)

“The Bechdel Test is a low bar to clear, and it’s surprising how many movies don’t clear it,” said Chasin.  “Understandably, the studios think about the bottom line, so it’s great to see a growing body of data that should make it easier for executives to make more inclusive decisions.”

Leading the charge for female-led films is director Patty Jenkins' WONDER WOMAN starring Gal Gadot. During its time at the box office, DC's highly-acclaimed superhero adventure earned $821 million worldwide, shattering expectations across the board. A sequel to the film, WONDER WOMAN 1984, starring Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Pedro Pascal, Connie Neilsen, and Kristen Wiig as the villainous Barbara Minerva / Cheetah, will march into theaters with its head held high on June 5, 2020.

Source: LA Times

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