Disney has four films in the works by female directors, which is currently the most out of any other major studio. Thanks to the smashing success of director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman domestically and overseas, the disparity between the number of men and women at the helm of major studio films has become a hot topic of conversation.
Starring Gal Gadot in the first-ever solo film about Amazon warrior princess, Wonder Woman shattered box office records, including the biggest opening ever for a film directed by a woman. As a result, the impressive performance of Jenkins’ film has got industry analysts breaking down current studio numbers, when it comes to female directors.
According to Variety, Disney leads all major studios with four females directors with upcoming projects, including Niki Caro for the live-action adaptation of Mulan; Ava Duvernay for A Wrinkle in Time, Jennifer Lee for Frozen 2; and Anna Boden, who along with Ryan Fleck is helming Captain Marvel (marking the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie with a woman at the helm).
Disney production Chief Sean Bailey tells Variety that it only makes sense that the Mouse House has aligned itself with so many female directors, since embracing empowered female characters has long been a priority for the studio:
“It only makes sense that we really work hard to make sure we have more women behind the camera. We recognize it’s an imperative for the film industry.”
Disney’s nearest competitor is Sony, which after this week’s release of Rough Night will have three films helmed by women in production under Sony Pictures label (including Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Spider-Man spinoff Silver Sable and Black Cat, which is in development; and Elizabeth Banks’ reboot of Charlie’s Angels). The company has one other film on its slate under its Tri-Star Pictures subsidiary.
As for the other studios, Fox has one film in the works with a female director (Kung Fu Panda helmer Jennifer Yuh Nelson is set to direct The Darkest Mind), while its indie subsidiary Fox Searchlight has three films with female directors in production. Universal Pictures, meanwhile, has two films with female directors set (including Pitch Perfect 3), with two others set up at its indie arm Focus Features (including Sofia Coppola’s upcoming drama The Beguiled).
Paramount, according to Variety, only has one film by a woman on its release schedule: co-director Bonni Cohen’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which is set for release later this summer.
Oddly enough, Warner Bros., which produced Wonder Woman, doesn’t have any films with female directors in the works. But before anyone wants to start criticizing, they need to take into consideration that the venerable studio effectively kicked off the revolution for more female directors in the first place. And while she hasn’t been signed to direct the sequel yet, expect sooner than later an announcement from Warner Bros. that Jenkins will be back to helm Wonder Woman 2 – especially since she’s already has ideas for the film.