April 24, 2024

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Heroines are in short supply in Hollywood – revealing the facts

Heroines are in short supply in Hollywood – revealing the facts

The huge success of “Barbie” hides an unpleasant fact: the number of Hollywood films starring women has decreased, according to a report published today.

Only a third of feature films produced by the US film industry last year focused on a female lead, according to the Hollywood Diversity Report, released just days before the Academy Awards, which will be held next Sunday.

This, despite the dominance of Greta Gerwig's feminist satire “Barbie” starring Margot Robbie. The film emerged as a global box office champion with revenues amounting to $1.4 billion.

“Although the Barbie movie broke records, the industry has shown that it continues to undervalue female-focused and female-led films,” the UCLA report concluded.

The researchers point out that “women have lost popularity in terms of representation, whether it is in the main roles, screenwriters, or the entire crew.”

The report said that the number of films with a female heroine increased over the decade until 2019. In that year, 44% of films produced by Hollywood depicted the adventures of one of the heroines.

The gradual decline of the central female characters

But since then this percentage has begun to decline: in 2023, only 23% of Hollywood films had a woman as a central character.

“This is a worrying sign for Hollywood,” said Ana Cristina Ramon, co-founder of the project and director of the Entertainment and Media Research Initiative at the University of California, California.

“Studios need to invest in women and their stories. Women filmmakers and moviegoers are integral to the industry's growth.”

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This is the 12th edition of the annual report, which found that films with a more diverse cast, especially those with more non-white actors, tend to perform better at the box office.

The report indicated that sequels to blockbuster films whose actors represent at least 50% of a racial minority attract more viewers than their predecessors, citing the successes of “Creed III,” “Scream VI,” and “John Wick 4.”

On the opening weekend of such films in the United States, minority audiences account for at least 6 out of 10 tickets purchased, according to the report.

“When the film industry gives them what they want, people of color date year after year,” Ramon points out.