By 2020, Hollywood will take an important step in including women behind the camera. For the first time, they will be the directors of five of the biggest releases of the year – which could change the face of the film industry in the coming years.
The year begins with Cathy Yan ahead of Birds of Prey (February 6). Then come Dear Niki with Mulan (March 26); Cate Shortland with Black Widow (April 30); Patty Jenkins with Wonder Woman 1984 (June 5); and Chloe Zao with The Eternals (November 5).
They are all big franchise films (two from Marvel, two from DC, and a live-action version of a classic Disney animation) and with the potential to raise money at the international box office. But why does it matter anyway?
Hollywood has a historical problem of inequality between men and women in driving. In 2019, they accounted for 10.6 percent of the 100 highest grossing films, according to a survey conducted by the University of Southern California and released yesterday. The number is still low, but it corresponds to the best result in the last 13 years – and represents a jump from 2018, when the percentage was 4.5%.
For Stacy L. Smith, one of the authors of the study, one of the key drivers of growth was that Universal Pictures has invested in five films that made the list – the case of Jill Culton's Abominable animation. Last year, the studio was the first to publicly commit to including more women in the direction.
In Hollywood, the rule is clear: money makes more money. If previously there was fear of betting on superheroes as protagonists, he was definitely left behind after Wonder Woman raised over $ 800 million worldwide. A similar process should follow with filmmakers, with the financial return of these films paving the way for more women to drive blockbusters and large productions.
While visiting Brazil to promote Wonder Woman 1984 in December, Patty Jenkins said there was a "dramatic and fascinating" change following the release of the first film, which was also directed by her. "No one believed that we would be successful nor was I producing other films (starring and directed by women). And after the film was successful, so many came along. It thrills me."
Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman, during her visit to Brazil in December last year
Image: Iwi Onodera / UOL
The filmmaker also said she had never viewed the superhero genre as an exclusively male niche. "Literally, it never occurred to me that this was out of my reach. I love superhero movies. From the moment I arrived in Hollywood, I would tell people I wanted to make movies of some heroes – and the first one was Wonder Woman. I think heroes are for everyone, and they are a vehicle for telling great stories. "
Jenkins is expected to win more companies soon, in addition to the directors mentioned at the beginning of this text. Kevin Feige, the almighty of Marvel's Film Universe, has promised more directors in studio films, and DC is working on an adaptation of New Gods led by Ava DuVernay (Selma, Eyes That Damn). The Star Wars universe also gained its first directors: Debora Chow directed an episode of The Mandalorian, the much-talked-about Disney + series, and Victoria Mahoney worked alongside J.J. Abrams as second unit director in The Skywalker Ascension.
The "ball club" days seem to be really numbered in Hollywood.