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Female-Led Films Earn More Than Ones Starring Men, According to a New Study

What were some of your favorite movies of the past few years? Wonder Woman? Ocean’s 8? Maybe A Simple Favor? Note how all are female-led films—and you’re not alone in loving them.

According to a new study by the Creative Arts Agency and the digital strategist shift7, the top movies from 2014 to 2017 starring women earned more than those led by their male counterparts. And this was across the board: for movies that were made for less than $10 million (indies) or for films over $100 million (blockbusters).

Clay Enos/©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

So what does that actually mean? That movies starring women are good for business. Plain and simple.

Of course we didn’t need a survey to tell us that. All we have to do is look at the box office, where women have been killing it. Take some of the best and buzziest of the past year. Whether it was this summer’s boundary pushing rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, the Oscar favorite A Star Is Born, or the impossibly fun Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, women dominated. And made bank.

Everett

This survey doesn’t even account for all the other places we watch movies outside of the theater, like Netflix. This summer the streaming service helped revitalize the romantic comedy genre by releasing several female-driven rom-coms, including everyone’s favorites To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Set It Up, and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. These movies proved that people truly want to watch movies about women—no matter the platform.

Netflix

CAA’s study also found that films that passed the Bechdel test—which measures where two female characters have a conversation about something other than a man—outperformed those that failed it. But in spite of this, women accounted for only around a quarter of sole protagonists in the top 2017 films and only played about a third of major characters.

So listen up, Hollywood: Not only are women good for business—we mean business.

Related: 9 Must-See Movies Directed by Women This Year

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