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Can Barbie, Priscilla, Saltburn’s box office success pave the way for more female employment behind the camera?

While Barbie is directed by Greta Gerwig, Priscilla is directed by Sofia Coppola, and Saltburn is directed by Emerald Fennell

Can Barbie, Priscilla, Saltburn’s box office success pave the way for more female employment behind the camera?

Stills from Barbie and Priscilla

Last Updated: 08.54 AM, Jan 02, 2024


While Greta Gerwig's Barbie painted the town pink at the box office and became the highest-grossing film ever directed by a woman, the cinematic landscape remained stubbornly male-dominated. Major studios remained indifferent despite such success and stuck to their old ways, favouring male filmmakers for their biggest productions.

About female employment survey

We got to know from Variety that a survey has been released by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, which discovered that out of the 250 biggest movies of 2023, only 16% were directed by women. That percentage is shockingly less than 2022. But there's a little good news: for the top hundred movies, the number of women directors went up from 11% to 14%. So, even though there's still a long way to go, things are getting a bit better for female filmmakers in Hollywood.

Female-led successful movies in 2023

The year 2023 was a banner one for female directors, with several films making a splash at the box office and film festivals. Greta Gerwig's live-action Barbie was a critical and commercial success, praised for its quirky take on the iconic doll. Sofia Coppola's Priscilla, a biopic of a famous socialite, was another critical darling, while Emerald Fennell's thriller-comedy Saltburn kept audiences guessing until the very end. Last but not least, Celine Song's delicate romance-drama Past Lives won hearts at the film festivals. These films proved that women can helm successful films in all genres.

What's the survey says?

According to the survey, even though these movies made billions and millions of dollars, the number of women working on them has not gone up. In fact, it's actually gotten a bit worse! Most of these movies had more men than women working behind the scenes. Whether it's writers, cinematographers, composers, or any other position, women’s employment did not rise.

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