For the Second Year Running, a Movie with a Female Lead Tops the Box Office
“The Hunger Games” series just reached a major movie milestone: With the Wednesday announcement that “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” surpassed “Guardians of the Galaxy” as the highest-grossing movie released in 2014 in the U.S. box office, this marks the second year a female-led movie has grossed number one. Last year, the winner was “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Before that, the last time a movie with a solo female lead won the box office was 41 years ago, with “The Exorcist” starring Linda Blair.
Jennifer Lawrence’s depiction of Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen proves that kick-ass female leads are a boon in Hollywood. Like Cate Blanchett said when she accepted her Oscar for “Blue Jasmine,” films with women at the center are not niche experiences. “Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money.”
2014 was a banner year for female heroines, but the number of women behind-the-scenes is still dismal. As films like “The Hunger Games” and Scarlett Johansson’s action movie “Lucy” hit box office highs, perhaps industry experts will begin to recommend that women direct and produce more, too. Investing in women clearly pays off.
Hear from the producer of The Hunger Games, Nina Jacobson, on working with J-Law and promoting female empowerment: