The Female Perspective: The Women Are On Top!

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*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I stumbled across an article from NPR today (I love NPR by the way) and they were talking about how currently, women-centric films are at the top of the box-office.

This year, though, is different: We are almost at the midpoint of 2015, and as of right now, more than half of the top 10 box-office hits — six of them — center their stories on female characters. Besides Mad Max, there’s its archrival Pitch Perfect 2, as well as Insurgent with its combative heroine Tris; Fifty Shades of Grey; the animated kid-flick Home, in which a little girl saves the planet from invading aliens; and Disney’s live-action Cinderella.

NPRThis Year, Women (And Girls) Rule The Big Screen

Let’s just take a few minutes to take a look at that. More than half of the top 10 box-office hits feature women storylines. What does that say about the audiences? That hey, what do you know, WOMEN go to the movies! They watch traditionally man-centric films like Mad Max and movies based on (bad) books like Fifty Shades of Grey among others. It says that maybe Hollywood is actually taking steps to even the playing field when it comes to man-movies versus female-movies?

Pitch Perfect 2 is just one of the many female-centric movies topping the box-office charts.
Pitch Perfect 2 is just one of the many female-centric movies topping the box-office charts.

I can’t lie, reading a statistic like this made me really happy. Even though less than half of the female-centric movies were directed/written by women, it’s a step in the right direction for the film industry. Maybe there will come a time when the studio execs will realize that people WILL, in fact, watch a movie centered around a woman. The success of The Hunger Games movies should show that pretty succinctly. Katniss Everdeen is a household name for a lot of people and while the movies aren’t the best, I can’t fault Jennifer Lawrence, she has so far turned in some pretty stellar performances and the final installment is due out this year. I suspect it’ll have record numbers.

Spy with Melissa McCarthy is topping the box-office this week.
Spy with Melissa McCarthy is topping the box-office this week.

Recently, the movie Spy was released and it is a movie based around a female superhero (the always funny Melissa McCarthy) and it is topping the box-office charts after this past weekend. Proving once again that people will turn out and pay for movies starring and about women.

In 13 of the past 30 years, not a single top 10 box-office hit was centered on a female character. And in the other years, there were never many — just one per year for eight years, and two or three in the others, and that, largely thanks to the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises. -NPR

It does make you wonder what is the difference between this year and years past. Is it simply that better movies are being made (though Fifty Shades of Grey would make that instantly untrue)? Or is it that the characters are compelling, multi-layered and strong? Could it simply be that women LIKE movies and when they see movies being made about women, they go and see them? All of these or none of these factors could be true. I am not a genius when it comes to these types of things but what I can say is that it’s heartening to see this type of statistic. Please Hollywood, take note of the fact that women-centred movies DO make money. Take note that you should make more like this to entertain the ladies.

Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron as Furiosa and Max takes a lot of "orders" from Furiosa.
Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy as Max and Charlize Theron as Furiosa and Max takes a lot of “orders” from Furiosa.

Or better yet, make more films like Mad Max: Fury Road, that had a man and woman SHARING the spotlight and in fact, Max took a lot of his cues from Furiosa which was awesome to see, not from a crazed man-hated perspective but from the point of view that yeah, sometimes men DO listen to women. It’s happened before and it will happen again.

Not all of these feminine characters are “empowered” exactly — don’t even get me started on the Bechdel test — but they are feminine, which is no small thing. Remember it’s just three years ago that Pixar’s Brave was called “brave” simply for being about an action heroine. -NPR

All-in-all I have to say that for the moment, women films are on top and I’m going to enjoy the holy heck out of it while I can!

What do YOU think? Are you happy to see Hollywood churning out more women-centric films? Do you think they are quality films? Should Hollywood do more of them? Sound off in the comments!

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