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Women Made Up 15% of the Protagonists in the Top 250 Grossing Films in 2014

Women Made Up 15% of the Protagonists in the Top 250 Grossing Films in 2014

A warning: if you’re still reeling from the profoundly disappointing news that 100% of this year’s eight Oscar-nominated feature films are about men, this post is likely to make you even more incensed. Only 37, or 15%, of 2014’s top grossing films featured female protagonists.

Some folks assume that more movies are made about male characters because men go to see movies more often than women. This is not the case: women account for a higher percentage of moviegoersThe fact that only 37 of the biggest box office hits were about women may lead you to suspect that making a movie about a woman, or women, is a bad business decision, but as we reported, examining the 100 highest-earning movies of 2013 reveals that movies with a female protagonist earned 20% more on average than movies with a male protagonist. Also, movies that pass the Bechdel test earn a higher return on investment

In other words, the list below doesn’t demonstrate that women don’t watch movies or that movies with female leads don’t make money: instead, it illustrates the deep resistance to making movies about women. 

To be clear, we aren’t claiming that the entire remaining 85% of 2014’s top grossing films were about men. They weren’t. We did not include ensemble pieces, such as Into the Woods, as “about women” because they don’t include a clear-cut female protagonist. Still, you can bet that the number of movies with a clear-cut male protagonist exceeds the 15% that were about women. 

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Both Shailene Woodley and Cameron Diaz have two projects in the top 50 grossing movies of the year, the former with Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, and the latter with The Other Woman and Annie. We can also celebrate the fact the second highest grossing movie of the year, which earned over $330 million, focused on a complex and revolutionary female protagonist — we are of course referring to Mockingjay Part 1′s Katniss Everdeen here. 

Here are 2014’s biggest box office successes about female characters — and yes, as you’re probably anticipating, unfortunately the majority of these characters are white even though diversity sells

2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ($330,136,517)

6. Maleficent ($241,410,378) –
Written by Linda Woolverton       

17. Gone Girl ($167,180,504) – Written by Gillian Flynn

18. Divergent ($150,947,895)

22. Lucy ($126,663,600)

23. The Fault in our Stars ($124,872,350)     

37. Tammy ($84,525,432) – Co-Written by Melissa McCarthy

38.  Annabelle ($84,273,813)

39. The Other Woman ($83,911,193) – Written by Melissa Stack

42. Annie ($79,753,799) – Co-Written by Aline Brosh McKenna

63. If I Stay ($50,474,843) – Written by Shauna Cross

86. Wild ($30,924,078)

109. Addicted – Co-Written by Christina Welsh ($17,390,770)

113. Tyler Perry’s The Single
Mom’s Club
($15,973,881)          

118. Beyond the Lights ($14,573,429) – Written and Directed by Gina
Prince-Bythewood

124. Big Eyes ($12,587,733) 

125. Belle ($10,726,630) – Directed by Amma Asante; Written by Misan
Sagay

129. Mom’s Night Out ($10,429,707)           

130. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return ($8,462,027) – Co-Written by Randi
Barnes

135. Vampire Academy ($7,791,979)

147. Dear White People ($4,384,615)

151. Ida ($3,702,612) – Co-Written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz

157. Veronica Mars ($3,322,127) – Co-Written by Diane Ruggiero

159. Before I Go To Sleep ($3,242,457)

161. Obvious Child ($3,123,963) – Written and Directed by Gillian
Robespierre

169. Under the Skin ($2,614,251)

176. The Homesman ($2,336,868)

183. Gloria ($2,107,925)

190. Finding Vivian Maier (doc) ($1,509,131)

193. Gimme Shelter ($1,359,910)

202. Laggies ($1,066,981) – Directed by Lynn Shelton; Written by Andrea
Seigel

216. The Babadook ($815,331) – Directed by Jennifer Kent

219. Nymphomaniac: Volume I ($785,896)  

228. Frankie & Alice ($695,876) – Co-Written by Cheryl Edwards, Mary
King, and Anna Waterhouse

232. Mary Kom ($621,300)

235. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya ($597,978)    

245. Tracks ($510,007) – Written by Marion Nelson

[via Box Office Mojo as of January 14, 2015] 

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