Women perform better at the box office, study findsDecember 12, 2018
A new study that analysed four years' worth of films found that female-led movies have consistently outperformed those in which men get top billing.
The study looked at the 350 top-grossing films worldwide released between January 2014 and December 2017. Researchers found that in films with small, medium and large budgets, all averaged better global grosses when a woman was listed as the lead star.
Gal Gadot in 2017’s Wonder Woman.Credit:Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP
"Women comprise half the box office, yet there has been an assumption in the industry that female-led films were generally less successful," CAA agent Christy Haubegger, who participated in the research, said in a statement. "We found that the data does not support that assumption."
For budget details and to determine lead actor statistics, researchers depended on data from Nielsen's box-office data collection company, Gracenote. Gracenote's Studio System defines a "female lead" as a woman who is listed first in official press materials.
Of the 350 films studied, 105 qualified as female-led and 245 registered as male-led. The greatest gap was in bigger-budget films. In movies with a budget greater than $100 million, there were 75 male-led films and 19 female-led films.
The study was conceived through a group that formed through the gender equality initiative Time's Up, including Amy Pascal, former chairman of Sony Pictures. Earlier research by academics has chronicled similar rates of inequality in top-grossing Hollywood releases, and the financial benefits of inclusion.
"This analysis affirms data showing that diversity has a positive impact on a company's bottom line," said Lisa Borders, Time's Up president and chief executive. "As studios consider their fiduciary responsibilities to investors, these findings offer a clear approach to delivering the best results."
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