Although the UK’s share of 2012’s global box office is down 2% from the previous year, at 15.3% it is the third highest share on record and more than twice than what was earned in 2009. In money terms, the UK took $5.3 billion of a record-breaking $34.7 billion global box office.
Much is owed to James Bond and Skyfall, grossing a gargantuan $1.1 billion worldwide. Rounding out the UK’s top 5 global box office success stories are The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ($135M), The Woman in Black ($128M), The Iron Lady ($59M) and Dredd ($26M). The UK had minor stakes in other big takers including The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus.
Looking at the top five UK films – Skyfall, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Woman in Black, The Iron Lady and Dredd – women are clearly under-represented. Of 5 director credits, only 1 is a woman (20%); and of 10 writers, 2 are women (20%); and of 11 producers, only 1 is a woman (9%).
Although these figures fall well short of an adequate representation of women’s creative film work, they are higher than the statistics for the year as a whole. That is, only 7.8% of directors credited in the UK in 2012 were women, and only 13.4% of screenwriters. Statistically, therefore, there is an argument that the few women who do find work in the UK film business are making an above average contribution to the global blockbusters that are so important to a growing industry.
Beyond statistics and in real terms, when only 4 of 26 credits of the UK’s top grossing films are held by women, we still have a very, very long way to go.