Girl Talk is a weekly look at women in film — past, present, and future.
The needle isn’t moving. Yet. In their latest study, “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair? Gender, Race & Age of Directors across 1,000 films from 2007-2017,” the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative identities that, of total of 109 film directors associated with the 100 top movies of 2017, a full 92.7% were male and 7.3% were female. It’s a slight uptick over the percentages that cover the last 11 years and 1,100 movies, which found that 95.7% of all directors were male and 4.3% were female. You can read the full report right here.
One area in which the numbers aren’t changing fast enough is in the studio world. Last year, The Wrap discovered that “of the 149 movies currently slated for a wide release from the six legacy studios over the next three years, only 12 have female directors. That means a whopping 92 percent of the major motion pictures due in theaters through the end of 2019 will be helmed by men.”
Last March, IndieWire further crunched those numbers to also include speciality arms like Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics, or Focus Features (which are often heavy on festival acquisitions). In our initial findings, we discovered that only 24 films directed by women would hit theaters care of a Hollywood studio in 2017 and 2018. The numbers are even worse when looking ahead to 2018 and 2019, as just 15 female-directed titles are currently scheduled to be released in the next two years.
It’s important to note, however, that each studio still has a number of scheduled films that not only haven’t been announced yet (see: “Untitled WB Event Film I” or similar), but have yet to officially attach filmmakers. Perhaps women are already in line for some of those jobs. We can certainly hope, especially after the 2017 box office results, which were dominated by female-directed and female-centric features. And with Sundance kicking off later this month, distributors will be hitting the trail to pick up finished films for distribution, including those helmed by women.
Still, as it stands: 15 films, just 15 over the next two years. There are, of course, some highlights. Walt Disney Pictures, which last year had zero films directed by women on their slate, now has 4, all of them big ticket items and tentpoles. (Of note, the Meg LeFauve-directed animated feature “Gigantic,” once slated for a November 2018, has been totally moved off the calendar). Sony and Sony Pictures Classics, which led our last list, remained on top with five films set for the coming two years, including a range of picks, like Chloe Zhao’s festival winner “The Rider” and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s superhero story “Silver and Black.”
Other previous entries have fallen by the wayside, however, including two at Fox alone, which now only has two films directed by women slated for 2018, and zero for 2019. At the studio, two previously announced films — the Ryan Case-directed “Fire Me” and the Emily Carmichael-directed “Lumberjanes” adaptation, both slated for possible 2018 releases — have fallen off the calendar. Case’s comedy is currently listed as still “in development” on IMDb, and so is “Lumberjanes,” though Carmichael’s name no longer appears to be attached to the comic book feature.
Both Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures only have one feature apiece, with Warner Bros. so far only lining up a Patty Jenkins-directed sequel to her massively successful “Wonder Woman,” and Paramount readying to release Reed Morano’s Blake Lively-starring “The Rhythm Section” in 2019. Universal and its speciality arm Focus Features have a pair lined up, the comedy “Blockers” and the historical drama “Mary, Queen of Scots,” both set for 2018 release.
Check out the list of upcoming female-directed features below, as divided by studio. (As with our previous list, we will update as new films are added to various slates.)
Twentieth Century Fox and Fox Searchlight
“The Darkest Minds,” directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, to be released September 14, 2018
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” directed by Marielle Heller, to be released October 19, 2018 (Fox Searchlight)
Walt Disney Pictures/Buena Vista
“A Wrinkle in Time,” directed by Ava DuVernay, to be released April 8, 2018
“Mulan,” directed by Niki Caro, to be released November 2, 2018
“Captain Marvel,” co-directed by Anna Boden, to be released March 8, 2019
“Frozen 2,” co-directed by Jennifer Lee, to be released November 27, 2019
“Wonder Woman 2,” directed by Patty Jenkins, to be released November 1, 2019
“The Rhythm Section,” directed by Reed Morano, to be released February 22, 2019
Universal Studios and Focus Features
“Blockers” (formerly known as “The Pact”), directed by Kay Cannon, to be released April 20, 2018
“Mary, Queen of Scots,” directed by Josie Rourke, to be released November 2, 2018 (Focus Features)
Sony Entertainment and Sony Pictures Classics
“The Rider,” directed by Chloe Zhao, to be released April 13, 2018 (Sony Pictures Classics)
“Barbie,” directed by Althea Jones, to be released August 8, 2018
“The Nightingale,” directed by Michelle MacLaren, to be released January 25, 2019
“Silver and Black,” directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, to be released February 8, 2019
“Charlie’s Angels,” directed by Elizabeth Banks, to be released June 7, 2019