ADDENDUM 2021: This is working exactly as one would expect. Over the past five years, we’ve seen some female-led films finally starting to earn a higher box office revenue so guess what Hollywood is doing. They’re finally pushing more female-led films, both in terms of in front of and behind the camera. Hollywood gets to make more money.
First let me state up front I am totally for more women in positions of artistic decision making, it can only make the artistic value of film better and that, in my opinion is a fantastic thing. I think there are so many stories that need to be told and seeing them from vantage points that I frankly don’t relate to initially are so awesome to come across. My fascination with Kurosawa (yes, he’s not female 😛 but culturally it’s ‘greek’ to me) started young and I still find my favorite filmmakers are the ones who illuminated something for me that I never could have done myself.
But here’s why I do not like articles like this:
1) This statistic has been beat to death. About every seven or eight years (last time it was in the heyday of Nicole Kidman) there’s a year where woman really shine through and this gets debated. Again.
2) They selectively use statistics that are effectively useless (75% of all speaking roles are for men, who the heck cares?). A better statistic would be to show what is the gross receipts of films with woman as the main character versus men as the main character. Remember that last time, did you know that Nicole Kidman CONSISTENTLY ranks as one of the highest LOSS/GAIN actors in Hollywood? Meaning companies earn significantly less money on her films then they pay her.
3) The reason why 2) is important is because hollywood is a business. A BUSINESS. Yes, I know all of us touch feely artists wish it were otherwise but it’s not going to happen. IT’S A BUSINESS. And until they get a return on cash that is the same as men, you will continue to see male dominated films. The ONLY way to change this is with your bank account. The funny thing about Blue Jasmine (and I am a huge Cate Blanchett fan) is that it doesn’t even fall into the category described here. Other that Cate Blanchett as the main character the cast is heavily male (though not nearly as some films). And check out the crew, of the six major positions in the crew (director, producer, cinematographer, writer, production design, and editing) there are 12 names and two of them are women.