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Watch: A Celebration of the Top-Grossing Women-Directed Films of 2015

Watch: A Celebration of the Top-Grossing Women-Directed Films of 2015

Women and Hollywood is proud to unveil an original video celebrating the work of 2015’s highest-grossing women directors. The video captures some of the year’s most memorable moments in women-helmed films, from a young female boss’s confident stride (“The Intern”), to what’s already become a legendary sultry stare (“Fifty Shades of Grey”). The video spans multiple genres, including a musical (“Pitch Perfect 2”) and a sci-fi epic (“Jupiter Ascending”). 

In 2014, women directed 17 of the top 250 grossing films (for a total of just under 7%). Only two female helmers cracked the top 100 list: Angelina Jolie with “Unbroken” and Ava DuVernay with “Selma,” coming in at #26 and #61, respectively. 

Happily, the picture is ever-so-slightly brighter for 2015’s contributions by female filmmakers. Women directors cinched seven spots on the top 100 list, with Elizabeth Banks singing her way to the top at #12 with her directorial debut “Pitch Perfect 2,” which grossed nearly $185 million in the U.S. alone. 

Of the top 250 grossing domestic films of 2015, 20 are directed or co-directed by women (for a total of exactly 8%). As always, it’s important to bear in mind why women aren’t better represented on this list. Not many films directed by women end up on a list of the highest-grossing films of the year because not many films directed by women are made in the first place — and the ones that are are usually smaller budget and lower profile.

Female directors are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to studio films, which dominate the multiplex, and hence the box-office tabulations. In 2015, Universal released “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “By the Sea.” Warner Brothers premiered “The Intern,” “Jupiter Ascending,” “Hot Pursuit” and “The 33.” Disney, meanwhile, released only one female-helmed film: “McFarland, USA.” 

Sony, Paramount and Fox, on the other hand, released zero films directed by women (not including their specialty divisions). 

Here’s where the 20 female directors land on the list of the top 250 grossing films of the year. 

12. “Pitch Perfect 2” – Directed by Elizabeth Banks ($184,296,230)

16. “Fifty Shades of Grey” – Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson ($166,167,230)

38. “The Intern” – Directed by Nancy Meyers ($75,711,361)

55. “Jupiter Ascending” – Co-Directed by Lana Wachowski ($47,387,723)

58. “McFarland, USA” – Directed by Niki Caro ($44,482,410)

69. “Hot Pursuit” – Directed by Anne Fletcher ($34,580,201)

88. “Love the Coopers” – Directed by Jessie Nelson  ($26,193,757)

120. “The 33” – Directed by Patricia Riggen ($12,122,453)

149. “Suffragette” – Directed by Sarah Gavron ($4,668,603)

158. “Learning to Drive” – Directed by Isabel Coixet ($3,447,633) 

173. “Meru” (Documentary) – Co-Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi ($2,334,228)

186. “Meet the Patels” (Documentary) – Co-Directed by Geeta Patel ($1,700,681)

190. “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” – Directed by Marielle Heller ($1,477,002)

192. “Infinitely Polar Bear” – Directed by Maya Forbes ($1,430,655)

200. “The Wolfpack” (Documentary) – Directed by Crystal Moselle ($1,301,696)

208. “Miss You Already” – Directed by Catherine Hardwicke ($1,162,653)

215. “Big Stone Gap” – Directed by Adriana Trigiani ($1,009,301)

224. “Sleeping with Other People” – Directed by Leslye Headland ($814,775)

238. “Welcome to Me” – Directed by Shira Piven ($608,852)

244. “By the Sea” – Directed by Angelina Jolie ($538,460)

Source: Box Office Mojo, as of 1/5/16 

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