As we previously reported, 2013 was the year of the box-office heroine, with girl protagonists headlining the #1 (Hunger Games: Catching Fire) and #4 (Frozen) most popular films of the year.
For most women directors, though, it was a different story. Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee’s blockbuster success proved an anomaly, as her nontraditional Disney princess tale racked up more ticket sales than the next nine films put together.
Last year only saw three women-directed films released wide, and the earnings on those films reflected the scales of their distribution. Frozen was one, of course; Carrie and Black Nativity were the others. Carrie performed reasonably well, landing Kimberly Peirce’s horror remake in second place. Kasi Lemmons’ Black Nativity ended in fifth.
Overwhelming positive response made two indies into arthouse hits. Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said and Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish were two films where quality was rewarded with critical and mass adulation.
But the box-office numbers taper off into the $2-3 million region by the year’s seventh high-grossing film, Maggie Carey’s The To Do List. And that’s incredibly frustrating, because this top-ten list demonstrates the incredible diversity of films that female directors make, as well as the paucity of studio support they receive.
Below are the 10 highest-grossing women-directed films of 2013:
1. Frozen – Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee – $263.1 million
2. Carrie – Directed by Kimberly Peirce – $35.3 million
3. Enough Said – Directed by Nicole Holofcener – $17.5 million
4. Tyler Perry Presents Peeples – Directed by Tina Gordon Chism – $9.2 million
5. Black Nativity – Directed by Kasi Lemmons – $7 million
6. The Bling Ring – Directed by Sofia Coppola – $5.8 million
7. The To-Do List – Directed by Maggie Carey – $3.5 million
8. In a World… – Directed by Lake Bell – $3 million
9. Austenland – Directed by Jerusha Hess – $2.2 million
10. Blackfish – Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite – $2.1 million