A new study analyzing four years' worth of films found that films with women in leading roles have consistently outperformed those in which men get top billing, according to AP.
The study conducted by the talent agency Creative Artists Agency and the tech company shift7, analyzed the 350 top-grossing films worldwide released between January 2014 and December 2017. Researchers found that in films with small, medium and large budgets, all averaged better global grosses when a woman was the lead star.
"Women comprise half the box office, yet there has been an assumption in the industry that female-led films were generally less successful," CAA agent Christy Haubegger, who participated in the research, said in a statement. "We found that the data does not support that assumption."
Haubegger attributed this to the movie audience's desire to see something new, rather than a traditional story about a superhero white guy. That's why stories about women perform better, as well as stories starring people of colour, which was the subject of an earlier study.
According to Gracenote's Studio System, a "female lead" is defined as a woman who is listed first in official press materials. Of the 350 films studied, 105 qualified as female-led and 245 as male-led. The greatest gap was in bigger budget films. In movies with a budget greater than $100 million, there were 75 male-led films and 19 female-led films.