Success of ‘Wonder Woman’ Could Pave Way for More Female Directors
The critical and commercial success of “Wonder Woman,” the first female superhero movie directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, could be the catalyst that turns the tide for female directors angling to helm major studio films. Keeping the momentum going, however, will be a big challenge.
“Overall, the studios say they’re working to hire more women as directors, but they have lots of ground to cover to even begin approaching parity. In 2016, men made up more than 90% of directors who worked on the 250 highest-grossing domestic releases, according to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. The report found that rather than improving on previous years, the rate of female directors - 7% - dropped by two percentage points from 2015.
Jennifer Warren, co-founder of the Alliance of Women Directors, said she senses new momentum in the struggle for gender parity in Hollywood. “I do think the tide is turning,” she said, acknowledging the historically poor showing by studios in hiring women, even in recent years. “It is moving.”
With so few female-directed tentpoles, women face sky-high expectations that don’t necessarily apply to male directors, said CAA talent agent Maha Dakhil. While “Wonder Woman” “hit it out of the park, you can’t count on every single female filmmaker or any filmmaker to get it right every time,” she said. “We need to get to a place where the pressure is just the same for both genders. … We should be allowed to make bad movies too. Then we can really talk about the fact that we’ve arrived.”