The last couple of years has seen a gradual change in Hollywood in the roles for women and how they are portrayed. It’s heartening to see films like Ghostbusters and Hidden Figures, to name a few female-led films, make the cut, albeit with varying levels of box office success. But is this positive trend the way of the future?
Hidden Figures went on to become a box office hit, bringing in more than $230 million! Even on this side of the pond, there has been much speculation about a female Bond and Dr Who recently returned as a woman in the latest series. We’re watching this turn of events very closely and recently reported on a Women on Telly discussion that discussed this very topic.
This turning of the tide is long overdue. Films like Girls Trip (which also crossed the $100 million threshold) again confirmed that women-led productions can bring box office success. No doubt studio bosses are rubbing their hands with glee at these figures.
It’s probably no accident that a common theme appears to be the presence of women writers and directors in these films, which clearly translates to female protagonists as the lead, at least 57%, according to a study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television at San Diego State University.
So, we want to know if this trend here to stay? The future looks promising with a number of recent announcements, including the news that Taraji P. Henson has been signed to take on the lead role in the remake of What Men Want, as reported by Deadline. The original film starring Mel Gibson, who in real life perhaps mirrored a little too closely, his character’s confident, chauvinistic personality. In the new version of the film, Henson is a female sports agent, who when she gets the ‘gift’ of being able to hear men’s thoughts, turns this to her advantage and career success.
Another acting powerhouse Viola Davis, is set to star in a film adaptation of Terry McMillan’s novel, I Almost Forgot About You. Davis, like Henson, will be a producer on the film, which is about a twice divorced, successful optometrist who to all intents and purposes has a great life, but is bored and longs to change pace in her life, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and exciting new life.
Malcolm D. Lee, (director of Girls Trip and the Best Man series, is on directing duty.
While there’s still a long way to go, every journey starts with a step. We’re looking forward to seeing these successes replicated in the UK film industry too.