The numbers have been crunched, and it’s official; the top 3 films at the domestic box office in 2017 were all female-led.
2017 has been a rough year for Hollywood. A series of high-profile scandals have revealed the sexism and misogyny that long lurked beneath the surface. At the same time, it’s been a year to celebrate. 2017 has seen a series of high-profile box office successes finally breaking the glass ceiling for women. In first place is Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The film’s domestic box office currently stands at $533 million. In second place is Beauty and the Beast (which grossed $504 million domestically), followed by Wonder Woman ($412 million).
Although The Last Jedi featured Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, the real star was Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Meanwhile, the film also offered fans a chance to say their goodbyes to the franchise’s most notable female star. Carrie Fisher sadly passed away after completing filming on The Last Jedi, and her final scenes are deeply emotional. It’s true that The Last Jedi has received a strange reaction, praised by critics but with an audience score on Rotten Tomatoes that currently sits at just 50 percent. That doesn’t seem to have affected box office performance, with the film having already grossed over $1 billion worldwide.
Another Disney film takes the silver medal, the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. This featured Emma Watson playing the part of Belle, and she certainly won hearts all over the world. The movie was accompanied by a gorgeous soundtrack, with striking original songs and a vocal performance by Céline Dion.
It’s worth pointing out that both The Last Jedi and Beauty and the Beast stand out from the crowd for another reason. Both movies grossed over $1 billion worldwide, joining an exclusive club – only 32 movies in Hollywood history have achieved this. Of these 32, only 10 are either female-led or star both a male and a female lead. Half of those are Disney films; the others are Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Finding Dory, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Wonder Woman may have come third, but its by no means least. Not only did the film star a female lead – Gal Gadot’s titular Wonder Woman – but it was also headed up by a female director, Patty Jenkins. The movie swiftly scooped up the record for the highest-grossing film by a female director, and is officially the best-performing superhero origin movie of all time. It swiftly surpassed every other DCEU film in the domestic box office. Although Jenkins was only paid $1 million for the film, she’s signed up to a historic deal in which she’ll be paid between $7 and $9 million for the sequel, in addition to a significant percentage of the back end. Jenkins has further helped to shatter the glass ceiling for female directors.
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