Silver screen

Films released in 2016 featured record number of female leads

Felicity Jones in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (YouTube).

The number of female film protagonists reached an all-time high in 2016, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

Women fronted 29 percent of the 100 highest-grossing movies of the year — up seven percent from 2015, and more than any preceding year. Thirty-seven percent of films included a major female character as part of an ensemble cast, which also represents a new record.

Female protagonists are most likely to appear in comedies. But a diverse range of women led films — from the sci-fi blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to the animated film Moana — performed well last year. “We have now seen over and over and over that female characters, when done well, they’re good box office,” Martha Lauzen, who authored the study, told Variety.

Hollywood is still lagging, however, when it comes to racial diversity. The number of Asian female characters doubled to 6 percent in 2016, but the number of black female characters rose just one percentage point, to 14 percent. Latina characters appeared in just three percent of films—down one percentage point from last year.

Read the full story at Variety.


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