Years With More Female-Driven Movies Make Much More Money in the Box Office

Source: Lionsgate
Source: Lionsgate

Hollywood should make more movies about women. That's a common refrain online these days, one usually driven from a desire to see more narratives about female experience. The most common counter-argument, however, is that female-driven films don't make money.

That, quite frankly, is hogwash. Not only do movies about women make money, they actually bring good fortune to the rest of the box office as well.

Source: Kevin O'Keeffe/Mic

So far in 2015, six of the top 10 movies feature a woman at their center: Cinderella, Inside Out, Pitch Perfect 2, Home, Fifty Shades of Grey and Mad Max: Fury Road. If that seems like a lot, that's because it is. No film year in the past decade has featured as many movies about women in the top 10 halfway through the year. The only other year to get close was 2012, which boasted four female-driven films: The Hunger Games, Snow White and the HuntsmanBrave and The Vow.

Perhaps not coincidentally, and as the chart shows above, those years fared better at the box office than years without many female-focused movies. 2013 featured only one top-grossing movie about a woman (Identity Thief) in its first half, while 2014 had two (Maleficent and Divergent).

Now, both 2012 and 2015 did feature a massive blockbuster that made over $500 million alone: The Avengers and Jurassic World, respectively. However, nothing changes if you remove the top-grossing film from all of these years; 2012 and 2015 would still come out on top.

Charlize Theron as Furiosa in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
Source: 
Warner Bros.

Correlation doesn't prove causation, of course, but the numbers are clear: After two years of box office decay, the 2015 top 10 have grossed more than any of the past three years — and with six movies about women. They are making more money and performing better in every way.

Studios would be wise to look at 2015 as a positive example going forward: The more movies about women, the better the box office. It's math, plain and simple.

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Kevin O'Keeffe

Kevin is the arts editor at Mic, writing about inclusion and representation in pop culture. He is based in New York and can be reached at kevin@mic.com.

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