The Time’s Up movement turned a year old at the start of the year, meaning it’s time to step things up. One new program, launched over the weekend, is called TimesUpx2. Created in partnership with the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, it challenges Hollywood producers to what actress Tessa Thompson, in a keynote address at the Sundance Film Festival, called the “4% Challenge” — so named because only 4% of the 100 top grossing Hollywood films were helmed by women.
The Challenge quickly picked up steam. According to Variety, more than 50 high-profile Hollywood players have committed to hiring at least one female director in the next 18 months. During a panel discussion on Friday evening, Amy Schumer, Paul Feig, Angela Robinson, and Franklin Leonard became among the first to sign up.
They weren’t alone. Soon followed current Brie Larson, Rashida Jones, Olivia Wilde, Armie Hammer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rachel Brosnahan, Kumail Nanjiani, Josh Gad, Eva Longoria, Constance Wu, Kerry Washington, and many more. Current Oscar-nominee Regina King, another of the first to accept the Challenge, went so far as to say 50% of the directors she hires for projects will be female.
Last year wasn’t a banner year for female-helmed movies either; a depressing recent report revealed that, of the 250 top grossers, a puny 8% had been directed by women. For what it’s worth, 2019 already looks brighter, with women directors attached to such high-profile productions as Captain Marvel and Frozen 2, plus next year’s Wonder Woman 1984. Also encouraging: At Sundance, where the Challenge debuted, 31% of the feature-length submissions have boasted at least one female director. With these plans, the future of cinema is definitely looking more female.