The big headline from the 2017 box office figures is that the top three films all starred women, something that hasn’t happened in 59 years. The top three films were Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the live action Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman, the movie they said couldn’t be made.
According to data from Box Office Madness and Box Office Mojo, which respectively log box office charts for films released before and after 1980, it has been 59 years since films fronted by women have swept the podium at the box office. In 1958, the top film of the year was “South Pacific,” the film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical which starred Mitzi Gaynor as a nurse stationed overseas during World War II. In second was the comedy “Auntie Mame,” which starred Rosalind Russell as the titular Manhattan socialite who takes her orphaned nephew into her whirlwind life. In third was the adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” starring Elizabeth Taylor in the lead role as Maggie “The Cat” Pollitt.
On the surface, it would seem that Mitzi Gaynor is a lot different than Gal Gadot, but…I’m guessing they have more in common than we think. Also, remember when women couldn’t star in action films? Or films at all? I do. And I won’t ever forget it. 2018 shows no signs of slowing down with Taraji P. Henson in Proud Mary, Natalie Portman in Annihilation, Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider, Rosa Salazar in Alita: Battle Angel, and Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling in Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time all on their way, according to The Wrap.
The other headline from this the year end box office is that JUSTICE LEAGUE WAS A TOP TEN MOVIE! I think you could win some bar bets with that factoid. At least it was according to Box Office Mojo.
|1||Star Wars: The Last Jedi||BV||$533,089,228|
|2||Beauty and the Beast (2017)||BV||$504,014,165|
|4||Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2||BV||$389,813,101|
|8||Despicable Me 3||Uni.||$264,624,300|
There’s not a single movie in this list that isn’t firmly grounded in the superhero/sf/cartoon canon. FOUR MARVEL MOVIES.
Coming in at #11 and #12 were Teh Fate of the Furious and Dunkirk, the latter the highest grossing “adult” film, I guess you could say.
I’m going to make a bold prediction: There will be no slowdown in superhero movies in the foreseeable future. Call me crazy!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.