Hollywood Sexist? Female Directors Still Missing in Action
In 2013, Hollywood saw big box office hits with Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” and Melissa McCarthy (and Bullock again) in “The Heat.” But none of these girl-power sagas were directed by a woman.
It’s the same old story. Four years after Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the directing Oscar for “The Hurt Locker,” the industry still has a terrible track record on gender equality behind the camera. As we head into awards season, the Oscar buzz is all about the guys (see Alfonso Cuaron, Steven McQueen, David O. Russell, Paul Greengrass, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Spike Jonze, etc.).
Women did not direct any tentpole features in 2013 with the exception of Disney’s animated “Frozen,” made by the duo Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. The most successful movie directed solely by a woman was Kimberly Peirce’s remake of “Carrie,” which ranked No. 77 for the year at the domestic box office with $35.3 million.
Such statistics are always discouraging. In 2011, 5 percent of the top-grossing 250 films were directed by women; in 2012, it was 9 percent, according to a study by San Diego State U.’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. But those numbers, as bad as they are, get worse when you consider big-budget releases. Variety found that in 2013, only two of the top-grossing 100 movies of the year were directed by women.
Here are the 10 most successful titles.
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Actual rank: 6
It only took 76 years after “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” for Disney to hire a woman director for one of its animated princess stories, which naturally skew toward female audiences. “What we’re always told in the industry is the audience you want is men, 18 to 25,” Lee told Variety in the fall. But “Frozen,” one of the biggest hits of the holiday season, is proof that’s not always the case.
Directed by Kimberly Peirce
Actual rank: 77
Peirce made her directorial debut with 1999′s “Boys Don’t Cry,” but her follow-up (2008’s “Stop-Loss”) was a commercial disappointment. At the time of “Carrie’s” fall release, she talked to the New York Times Magazine’s Mary Kaye Schilling about the heartbreaking years she tried–and failed–to get her own ideas turned into movies. She agreed to helm the Stephen King remake starring Chloe Moretz after Sony offered her the project.