The Number of Female Leading Roles Goes Down in 2017

Written by on 5 March 2018

Under a quarter of women in the film industry were seen on the big screens as the lead roles in 2017.

2017 saw a variety of females play leading roles, but according to Digital Spy, only 24% of movies last year were female protagonist based, creating a 5% decrease from 2016.

A recent study conducted by San Diego’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film discovered these shocking statistics, even though three of the biggest movies, below, that appeared on our big screens, all featured women as the leading role. It seems that Hollywood, is still after all these years, a male-dominated industry, but why is that?

Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

25-year-old English actress, Daisy Ridley, has been starring the in Star Wars sequel trilogy since 2015. It was great to see such a male-dominated saga of movies be replaced with a leading lady, however, it seems that there still needs to be a lot more on the big screens.

We also saw the likes of Emma Watson, play Belle in Disney’s reboot of Beauty and the Beast, and Gal Gadot in the DC action-packed cinematic Wonder Woman. Despite the success of these female-dominated movies, there was a lot missing from the Hollywood screens, especially those of whom are co-stars, crew, of an ethnic minority, and directors.

Emma Watson in Disney’s Reboot of Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The study discovered that females within 10 or more feature films in 2017, that also had some form of speaking roles, was only a figure of 32%. In comparison, for films that featured men with speaking roles, the figure was a whopping 79%, which is a significant difference to females in the movie industry.

When examining the past year in film, the study discovered that regardless of the sex of the lead role, films with a large budget generate a large gross. There is also an incredibly large gender pay gap in Hollywood today, and is also a concern over numerous industries, and not just in film.

Actor Mark Wahlberg with co-star Michelle Williams

A USA Today report stated that actress Michelle Williams was only paid $1000 dollars to re-shoot scenes with actor Christopher Plummer in the movie All The Money in the World. However, Hollywood A-lister Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million to do his re-shoot for the film, which is 1500 times more than Williams got paid.

Wahlberg had later donated the full $1.5 million to the Time’s Up movement, after discovering the shocking truth, and stated,  “It didn’t take much to make the decision. It was just the right thing to do, you know? And Michelle is a fantastic actress.” Michelle was delighted to hear the backing of her fellow co-star, and that there are men in Hollywood who are listening and are concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

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University of West London

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