2018 was a great movie year and a banner one for representation and diversity, from Black Panther being the highest grosser to the runaway success of Crazy Rich Asians to numerous high-profile female-driven pictures, including Ocean’s 8, Widows, The Favourite, Suspiria, Eighth Grade, Support the Girls, even arguably Halloween. But that’s only taking into account what’s on screen. Behind the camera is another story. A new, depressing study from San Diego University (caught by The Wrap) breaks down the math to reveal that the percentage of female-directed movies was a paltry eight percent.
The study is an annual one, called Celluloid Ceiling, which look at each year’s 250 highest grossing movies. This latest iteration shows that, despite all the tough talk from Hollywood top brass about increasing diversity, few are making any real changes. In fact, that number is down from 2017, when it was a semi-encouraging but still despairing 11 percent.
It isn’t all bad. The study shows that women hired as writers, producers, executive producers, and editors had improved “slightly,” though that surely isn’t terribly reassuring. One could also point out that there was some diversity afoot — that at least Black Panther was helmed by an African-American filmmaker, Ryan Coogler, and Crazy Rich Asians by a Chinese-American director, Jon M. Chu. Still, all the female-driven movies mentioned above? Each one was made by dudes.
Last year did see Ava DuVernay helm the $100 million A Wrinkle in Time, which went on to become 2018’s 31st highest grossing film. But looking at Box Office Mojo’s list of the year’s highest grossers, you have to scroll down pretty far to find a second female-helmed film — to number 57, to be exact: Amy Schumer vehicle I Feel Pretty, which was only co-directed by a woman, namely Abby Kohn.
But don’t get too down. The new year already has a slew of female-directed fare en route, from Captain Marvel (co-directed by Anna Boden) to Wonder Woman: 1984 (by returning series director Patty Jenkins) to Frozen 2 (co-helmed by Jennifer Lee). Perhaps 2018 was a mere blip — an off-year as Hollywood finally got their stuff together.
(Via The Wrap)