It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: Portrayals of Female Characters in the Top Grossing U.S. Films of 2020

It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: Portrayals of Female Characters in the Top Grossing U.S. Films of 2020

EXCERPT

The percentage of top grossing films with female protagonists dropped dramatically from 40% in 2019 to 29% in 2020.  49% of films featured male protagonists, and 22% had ensembles.  The percentages of major female characters and those in speaking roles remained relatively stable.  The percentage of major female characters rose from 37% in 2019 to 38% in 2020.  The percentage of female characters in speaking roles climbed from 34% in 2019 to 36% in 2020.  Regarding race and ethnicity, the percentage of Black females in speaking roles declined from 20% in 2019 to 17% in 2020.  The percentage of Latinas increased slightly from 5% in 2019 to 6% in 2020.  The percentage of Asian females declined from 7% in 2019 to 6% in 2020.  Female characters remained younger than their male counterparts, dramatically declining in number when they reached their 40s.  The percentage of female characters dropped from 29% in their 30s to 16% in their 40s.  The percentage of male characters only declined slightly from 31% in their 30s to 28% in their 40s.  Further, films in 2020 featured almost twice as many male characters 60 and older as female characters (10% vs. 6%).

The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top U.S. Films of 2020

The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top U.S. Films of 2020

EXCERPT

For the second consecutive year, the percentages of women directing top grossing films increased, reaching recent historic highs, while the overall percentages of women working in key behind-the-scenes roles remained relatively stable.  Women comprised 16% of directors working on the top 100 grossing films in 2020, up from 12% in 2019 and 4% in 2018.  Women accounted for 18% of directors on the top 250 films, up from 13% in 2019 and 8% in 2018.  In 2020, the percentages of behind-the-scenes women working on the top 100 and 250 (domestic) grossing films inched upward.  Women comprised 21% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 grossing films, up from 20% in 2019.  Women working in these roles on the top 250 grossing films experienced a slight increase from 21% in 2019 to 23% in 2020.  By role, women accounted for 18% of directors, 17% of writers, 21% of executive producers, 30% of producers, 22% of editors, and 6% of cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films.  In 2020, the majority of films (67%) employed 0 to 4 women in the roles considered.  24% of films employed 5 to 9 women, and 9% employed 10 or more women.  In contrast, 5% of films employed 0 to 4 men in the roles considered, 24% employed 5 to 9 men, and the remaining majority (71%) employed 10 or more men.  Due to the interruption caused by COVID-19 in theatrical box office grosses, this year’s study also tracked women’s employment on films included on DEG’s “Watched at Home” list.