Let’s face it, everyone knows the film industry has a long way to go when it comes to treating women as equals. It remains a fact that for roughly every fifteen male directors there is just one female director, only 30.8% of speaking roles go to women, and the majority of major motions pictures seem to be marketed to men. Not only that, but women seldom get the roles that their male counterparts are offered, and are generally expected to wear revealing clothing or appear partially naked with far greater frequency than male actors (28.8% of the time compared to 7% for men). Still, despite this, 2014 was a pretty good year to be a woman in the movie industry, or just a woman who wants to watch movies.
First, it seems that this year Hollywood might finally be forced to realize that women are an audience, an audience with buying power that wants movies made for them. The Motion Picture Association of America reports that women account for 52% of all movie tickets purchased. What this meant was that unexpected films, like The Fault in Our Stars, made far more money than anticipated and spent weeks unexpectedly occupying top box office spots. What this might translate to is more intelligent movies with a smarter breed of female characters actually ending up in major theaters. I can dream, right?
There have also been a lot more interesting female roles lately. Scarlett Johansson had an amazing year playing both Black Widow and Lucy and creating a name for herself as an action hero of sorts. Movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow also featured strong female leads in action roles. The success of these films have led to rumors of a Black Widow stand alone film, the development of a Wonder Woman project, and a possible all female Ghostbusters reboot. While this is far from perfection, it is definitely a step in the right direction and makes me pretty excited for 2015.
2014 had its highs and lows, but it wasn’t a terrible year for women in film. It’s certainly paved the way for 2015, which looks to be an even better year. There are a lot of strong female roles in upcoming films like Jupiter Ascending, and Scarlett Johansson will be back as Black Widow in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Not only that, but there is a huge buzz around a lot of films directed by women at upcoming film festivals; at this moment 36% of Sundance submissions are directed by women and The Atlanta Film Festival has ten movies scheduled to be screened, all by women directors. All in all, I’m excited for a new year and new movies. Share with me what you’re looking forward to in the comments.