In 2016, studies showed that female directors of top-grossing Hollywood films accounted for only 9% of all directors in the business. Sadly, that is actually a huge improvement on previous years, when that number was even lower.
One director, however, just made history by breaking into the male-dominated field in a major way. Patty Jenkins, a 45-year-old American film director, has just become a superhero in her own right as the screenwriter and director of Wonder Woman. The new DC film broke box office records during its opening weekend, elating women in Hollywood and fans of the comic book.
Wonder Woman premiered in theatres on Friday, June 2nd and has already earned $100.5 million from US/Canadian box offices alone, officially gaining the biggest opening weekend profit for a film produced by a woman. Jenkin’s film, with a production budget of $150 million, earned $223 million worldwide in the span of three days. The Hollywood Reporter found that previous superhero movies by DC and Marvel properties had 60 plus percent male audiences, but Wonder Woman’s audience was 52 percent female.
Jenkins has received notable awards throughout her career, including the Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing a Drama Series in 2012 for her “The Killing,” and the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature for her 2004 “Monster.” She is the first woman to be handed a blockbuster budget to produce a superhero movie.
Jenkins told Variety, “A woman doesn’t have to direct a woman’s film and a man doesn’t have to direct a man’s film; otherwise where would we be? … But the truth is, it was wonderful to direct this as a woman because to me it’s not about her being a woman — it’s about a hero.”
Jenkins then stated that as films grow more diverse, they will start to hire more diverse people. She also told The Hollywood Reporter, “I can’t take on the history of 50 percent of the population just because I’m a woman,” which is absolutely true. Once a woman takes on such an important role, suddenly she seems to become responsible for the reputation of her entire gender in a very competitive industry.
As for the actual Wonder Woman herself, 32-year old actress Gal Gadot served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for two years as a soldier and made her screen debut in 2009 in the fourth installment of Fast and Furious. Gadot spoke to Variety in an interview and said, “Growing up, I had Superman and Batman to look up to … All the boys and all the girls, that’s what we had … I think that it’s so important that we have also strong female figures to look up to, and Wonder Woman is an amazing one.” Gadot continued, “It’s great that after 75 … years that this character had been around, finally she gets her own movie.”
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