And these consumers aren’t the only ones asking for this change. Hollywood producers and actors have been demanding more female filmmakers be hired for projects.
Celebrities like J.J. Abrams (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Tessa Thompson (“Creed II”), Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic Park: The Lost World”), Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies”) and Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) have pledged their commitment to working with a female director on a feature film in the next 18 months.
“Some people think there are a lack of female filmmakers,” Malone said. “But that’s not the case, there is a lack of opportunity.”
She said people in a position of power in Hollywood are the gatekeepers and, traditionally, these executives have hired more male than female filmmakers. However, she said, when a female director is hired, there is a higher chance that they’ll hire other women for the production.
While there have been female directors in Hollywood since the early 1900s, Malone said that it wasn’t until the ’90s that there was a surge of these filmmakers in the industry. In fact, Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust,” released in 1991, was the first wide-released film to be directed by a female African-American director.
“People are now demanding more, which is exciting,” Malone said. “Which makes me really optimistic, I think for the first time, in my entire career that things are changing. Because, hopefully, the next step from that is actual change from Hollywood.”
Malone, who will be speaking at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, this weekend, pointed to an all-female panel she’s on, called “Critics’ Preview of SXSW Film,” as a major indicator of change. In the past, she said, an all-female panel would have been called out as a female critics panel.
“It’s not a female guide to the SXSW film festival, it’s just a critics panel,” she said.
For a while, there was a myth in Hollywood that films starring women don’t perform well at the box office. But that idea has been all but shattered, as a report from the Creative Artists Agency and Shift7, in conjunction with the anti-sexual harassment organization Time’s Up, found that these movies actually dominated male-led movies at the box office from 2014 to 2017.
The study, released in December, examined 350 films, 105 of which were led by women. The films were separated by budget size into five different groups — budgets less than $10 million, budgets between $10 million and $30 million, budgets between $30 million and $50 million, budgets between $50 million and $100 million and budgets over $100 million. In each category, the female-led films outperformed the male-led films.