2015 Statistics

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Women comprised 5% of directors on the top 250 films

Of the 4,370 named, speaking characters from the top-grossing films, 31.4% were women — a figure that hasn’t changed since 2007

76% of all female characters in the top 100 films were white. 13%  of all female characters were black, 4% were Latina, 3% were Asian, 2% were other worldly, and 2% were of another race or ethnicity.

Women Onscreen

Of the 4,370 named, speaking characters from the top-grossing 100 films in 2015:

  • 31.4% were women — a figure that’s remained consistent since 2007.
  • 26.3% were underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.
  • Less than 1% were LGBT-identified.
  • Less than 2.4% were disabled and only 19% of those were women.
  • Only 18% of the movies had a gender-balanced cast.
  • 49 films included no speaking or named Asian or Asian American characters. 17 featured no black/African American characters.
  • 45 films did not include a character with a disability. 82 did not feature a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender character.
  • Only five of the films with female leads/co-leads in 2015 were over 45, compared to the 26 movies with males 45 years of age or older as leads/co-leads.

Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative

Top 100 grossing films:

  • Females comprised 22% of protagonists, 34% of major characters, and 33% of all speaking characters.
  • 27% of black, Latina, Asian, and other women of color were major characters. 38% of white females were major characters.
  • 76% of all female characters were white, 13% were black, 4% were Latina, 3% were Asian, 2% were otherworldly, and 2% were of another race or ethnicity.
  • Moviegoers were more likely to know the occupation of male characters and the marital status of females.
  • Moviegoers were much more likely to see male characters at work and actually working than female characters.
  • The majority of female characters were in their 20s (24%) and 30s (28%). The majority of male characters were in their 30s (27%) and 40s (30%).
  • Males 40 and over accounted for 54% of all male characters. Females 40 and over comprised 34% of all female characters.

Center for Study of Women in TV and Film

Of the top 200 grossing films of 2015, women were underrepresented by nearly 2 to 1 among film leads. (Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies)

Women Behind the Scenes

  • Of the 107 individual directors on the top 100 movies, there were only eight women (7.5%, all white). That’s a ratio of 12.4 men to every woman.
  • Only three black women and one Asian woman, have directed one of the top 100 films from 2007–2015.
  • 5.5% of the 886 directors examined were black. 2.8% were Asian.
  • Out of the 800 top grossing films from 2007–2015 (excluding 2011), there were only 29 unique women directors (4.1%).
  • Of the 1,365 directors, writers, and producers on the top 100 top films of 2015, women comprised 11.8% of writers and 22% of producers. Of the 114 composers, only one was a woman.
  • The top-grossing films of 2015 with at least one female at the helm portrayed a higher percentage of female characters onscreen (41%) than those with only males at the helm (30.5%).
  • Movies with a female screenwriter attached featured more girls/women onscreen (36.9%) than movies with only male screenwriters (29.2%).

Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative

Top 250 grossing films:

  • Women directed 5% of the top grossing films.
  • Women wrote 14% of the top grossing films.
  • Women comprised 18% of all executive producers, 25% of producers, 20% of editors, and 4% of cinematographers.

Center for Study of Women in TV and Film

Of 1,591 feature films released theatrically on at least one screen in the U.S. between 2010–2015:

  • Women directors are the most underrepresented major category, accounting for 8.8% of films. They are followed by women writers (13.2%), women producers (19.8%), and women acting leads (29.4%).
  • Regardless of role, women are afforded smaller budgets than their male counterparts.
  • Scripts from women writers achieve the highest ROI of any category but receive two-thirds of the average budgets given to male writers.
  • For films budgeted at more than $25 million, women writers achieve an industry-high ROI of 3.72 yet account for just 8.7% of theatrically released screenplays.


Of the top 25 highest-earning films each year from 2006 to mid-October 2015:

  • Hits with female protagonists grossed an average of $126.1 million, whereas hits with male protagonists made an average of $80.6 million.
  • That’s nearly $50 million in favor of women.


Top 200 grossing films:

  • Women were underrepresented by more than 6 to 1 among film directors.
  • Women were underrepresented by nearly 4 to 1 among film writers.

Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies

Top 10 grossing movies:

  • 45% of the opening weekend audience were people of color
  • Four of the 10 delivered opening weekend audiences that were more than 50 percent non-white
  • “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was the best-performing “truly diverse” film

LA Times