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
3 Wonder Woman WB $412,563,408
4 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 BV $389,813,101
5 Spider-Man: Homecoming Sony $334,201,140
6 It WB (NL) $327,481,748
7 Thor: Ragnarok BV $311,441,239
8 Despicable Me 3 Uni. $264,624,300
9 Logan Fox $226,277,068
10 Justice League WB $225,897,455

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!




  1. I think of Last Jedi as more of an ensemble piece than a movie that “starred a woman” (or a ma, either).

    What a shock (he said with sarcasm): every one of these movies is a sequel, a remake, or a movie that’s intended to kick off a franchise (Wonder Woman). So much for creativity in Hollywood. It will get worse when Disney takes over Fox and probably shuts down Fox Searchlight, just like Disney let Miramax die when the Weinsteins left.

  2. Heidi has enornous pleasure when she speaks FOUR MARVEL MOVIES.
    It’s curious because Heidi raves about independent creators however in cinema she worships Marvel output that is producer-oriented.
    Sadly, the scandalous of Harvey Weinstein etc muffled the repercussion of an article of the great moviemaker Martin Scorsese.
    The article “Martin Scorsese on Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Obsession and Why ‘Mother!’ Was Misjudged” is a mandatory reading foi any cinema lover.
    It’s dispensable for fans of Marvel Studios output.

  3. Pessoa, you imply that my use of the h3 tag implies pleasure – not at all. I did enjoy Logan and Thor: Ragnarok immensely, tolerated Homecoming and found GOTG2 the biggest disappointment of the Marvel era.

    No, my use of the h3 tag was simply to try to convey how immense and profitable the Marvel movie business is. The market can absorb four movies set in this universe and make them all top 10 at the box office.

    No wonder WB was on the grail quest for a shared universe for so long.

    Superhero films are the westerns of today: simple white hat vs black hat stuff. With Logan we’re beginning to see a Searchers or two.

  4. Heidi, Marvel movies mean to cinema the same Justin Bieber means to music. Both have many fans and make too much money, but the quality…

    It seems you didn’t read the article “Martin Scorsese on Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Obsession and Why ‘Mother!’ Was Misjudged”, The majority of sites, including yours, are obsessed with box office and not with the quality of the movies.

    I know sexual harassment is a hot topic in Hollywood but It’s a pity that subject drowned out the voice of the greatest living american filmmaker (in my opinion). Scorsese’s article should be matter of discussion for any person concerned with cinema as art or form of expression. However the bulk of web sites are obsessed with box office and aren’t interested in the opinion of a genius.

  5. “Superhero films are the westerns of today.”
    That’s an overstatement, to say the least. If you think it is a simple white hat vs black hat stuff you really doesn’t know or understand western.

    There were great moviemakers that make westerns: John Ford, Howard Hawks, Sergio Leone, Budd Boeticher, Raoul Walsh, Clint Eastwood etc.
    Howerver, the bulk of superhero movies are producer-oriented and they are light years behind the great westerns.

  6. Just came across a comment by critic Nick Pinkerton in Film Comment:

    “If the superhero movie is the new western, then it seems only fair to ask: where are the Peckinpahs, Leones, Boettichers, Manns and Fords?”

    Pinkerton isn’t sure there can be such figures in superhero movies, because the movies’ primary goal is “fan service”: not disappointing the expectations of the property’s inscribed audience. The best westerns constantly subvert expectations.

    Off the top of my head, the only superhero movie I can think of that does that is LOGAN. Not surprisingly, it’s been compared to the westerns of Leone, Peckinpah and Eastwood.

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