By Sahiba Bhatia
Wonder Woman may have won our hearts (and the box-office) but it looks like she, and only a few others, were the ones to do so.
A study by San Diego University has found out that in the 100 top-grossing movies of Hollywood, woman protagonists amounted to only 24 percent, a decrease of five percent from 2016.
The statistics are a bit surprising, not just because the top three grossing movies in North America were female-led, but also because for some time now Hollywood has been surfing a major feminist wave, focused on the upliftment of strong female characters in movies. Also, amidst the stir of sexual allegations against powerful men in Hollywood, the united front that many major actors have formed provided a this-is-the-time-for-women-in-Hollywood notion to audiences. So when Chris Pine became the funny sidekick of Gal Gadot, people, especially women, cheered and thought ‘The time has come’. The time when a woman saves the day while her love-interest just makes googly eyes at the shero. But looks like the numbers don’t back up that perception.
But the study also provides a positive statistic: More women had speaking roles in films, accounting for 34 percent of such characters, up two percentage points from 2016.
Though Bollywood also saw a rise in woman-led movies such as Simran, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Tumhari Sulu, the top-grossing movies remained those led by men. So that means that while Sallu Bhai rolled around in money kyunki Tiger Zinda Hai, Hamari Sulu was stuck juggling her life as an RJ and a housewife to make ends meet (admittedly, that’s an exaggeration).
The Hollywood report may have been surprising but it still shows that stories with women leads have the potential to reach the top of the box-office. And at least that leaves us with hope.
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