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Melissa Silverstein

Melissa Silverstein

Posted: December 10, 2009 12:12 PM

Women, Hollywood and Money

What's Your Reaction:

Women are second class citizens in Hollywood and the best way to illustrate it is to look at the money -- how it's earned and how it's distributed. Two very different pieces, Actress Salary Report in The Hollywood Reporter and BO of the '00's: The Top Grossing Female Helmed Film Women in IndieWIRE help illustrate the issue.

IndieWire points out that of the 241 films in the last decade that have grossed over $100 million only five! of them are directed by women. (Two more Shrek and Shark Tale -- both animated -- had women as co-directors.)

Here are the five:

Twilight directed by Catherine Hardwicke

What Women Want
directed by Nancy Meyers

The Proposal directed by Anne Fletcher

Mamma Mia directed by Phyllida Lloyd

Something's Gotta Give directed by Nancy Meyers

And to add insult to injury: "only 31 films directed or co-directed by women grossed over $20 million. Over 1,000 films directed by men did the same."

WTF? I do like a Nancy Meyers film but please! I know it's very complicated to dissect why women directed films don't perform as well as films by men. Some of the reasons include subject matter and the fact that men would rather die than see a romantic comedy, and that in 2009 most of the women directed films still fall into the romantic comedy category.

This has got to change. Everyone knows it's abysmal and unacceptable yet there are no clear strategies EVER put forward by people with power to improve the situation.

And compounding the issue is the release of the annual salary list of top Hollywood actresses. We all know that women make less money than men because most of the films that women star in (except for Angelina Jolie) have lower budgets because not too many things blow up which in turn leads to less marketing and advertising which in turn leads to lower grosses and then the outcome is: women's movies don't make money so let's not make any movies that star women.

On the one hand I think that we are going to need many women to blow shit up to get any respect in Hollywood but then look at The Hurt Locker where Kathryn Bigelow blows lots of shit and people up. It still has not made a lot of money. So you can't really win. Maybe an Oscar nomination will help. On the other hand I say fuck it. Let's just make the movies we want to see and be better about figuring out how to get women to see them.

The list of the top earning actresses is quite predictable and all white. Most of the women are desperate for a hit. The general theme to me is that these women need better scripts. I'm tired of watching the same crappy movies rewritten over and over again. Give me a Kate Winslet or a Cate Blanchett film any day (and by the way neither of them is on this list.)

The list and my thoughts:

Julia Roberts - took a pay cut for her next film Eat, Pray, Love but is only one hit away from being back on top.

Katherine Heigl - all I know is that she has one more chance to save herself after the misogynistic The Ugly Truth. (I recently was watching the early episodes of Grey's Anatomy and she is so good. She needs to find a movie worthy of her and worthy of us.

Cameron Diaz - she stays on the list because of Shrek, but please she needs a serious hit.

Reese Witherspoon - I kind of miss her. Where the hell has she been? Oh yeah, hanging out with Jake.

Jennifer Aniston - I expect to see more boring romantic comedies from her for another 10 years.

Kate Hudson - if anyone needs a career counselor it is Kate Hudson who is still riding on her one hit wonder performance in Almost Famous.

Meryl Streep - hope she's buying a big truck to haul all the backend dollars she's getting because they won't pay her enough up front.

Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side and The Proposal move her back up to the top. Now no one remembers All About Steve.

Amy Adams - love her but Leap Year looks like a retread of the bad Hilary Swank film PS I Love You. It's another January release and you know what that means. But I have only seen the trailer and it includes the line "I'm not going to die without getting engaged" which always makes me want to run screaming from the theatre.

Rachel McAdams - I want her to star in a film DESPERATELY.

 

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