comScore Paramount and 20th Century Fox Have a Lady Problem | The Mary Sue
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Paramount and 20th Century Fox’s Next 20-Plus Films All Directed by Men

director's chair, clapboard, and megaphone

In a report published yesterday, The Wrap revealed that both 20th Century Fox and Paramount won’t release a movie directed by a woman through 2018 at least. Fox’s slate currently includes 22 consecutive films directed by a man, while Paramount’s includes 25.

Those findings don’t include the director demographics for Fox Searchlight, which specializes in distributing independent and arthouse films. Fox Searchlight has at least two films planned right now with female directors: Absolutely Fabulous, from Mandie Fletcher, and Valerie Faris’ Battle of the Sexes. 20th Century Fox, which develops films in-house while Fox Searchlight relies on acquisitions, hasn’t had a movie directed by a woman since 2010 (Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum’s Ramona and Beezus). Paramount’s last female-directed movie was Ava DuVernay’s Selma, in 2014.

It’s important to remember that these statistics aren’t just an indicator of a directorial gender gap, but they’re illustrative and indicative of a gender gap in every aspect of the entertainment industry. Bias trickles down; even the most woke male director is less likely to care about the gender demographics of their crew, the age gap between their female and male leads, or whether or not their film passes the Bechdel-Wallace test, than a female director would likely be.

Hollywood is a mirrortocracy, and people in power often recommend, and aspire to work with, creators who are a reflection of their own ideals. I’ll never tire of the Colin Trevorrow example, because it’s a perfect encapsulation of how Hollywood remains so monolithic: Trevorrow was a relatively inexperienced director prior to Jurassic World, but he was offered the movie because Brad Bird told producer Frank Marshall “there’s this guy who reminds me of me.” People in Hollywood want to work with people like themselves, and given the current status quo, that often means another white man.

It’s pretty clear from The Wrap’s findings that if Paramount and 20th Century Fox want to correct their women problemas they should, considering a more inclusive directorial pool would inevitably lead to more interesting, inclusive films, and originality and representation are proven to sell—they’ll need to be very deliberate.

Both studios have Tim Burton films on their upcoming slates; maybe every time they consider working with Tim Burton in the future, they have to consider a project from a female director, as well? Or Paramount has to work with one woman before their next Transformers film, and Fox has to hire a female director before they’re allowed to even think about The Croods 3? Those are stupid suggestions, I know, but I’m trying to make this process baby-simple for them. Looking at their slates, you’d think it’s hard to find female directors in Hollywood, but that’s not the case; it’s just a matter of reminding and convincing big studios to consider them.

To see a list of Fox and Paramount’s upcoming films, as well as the director gender demographics for Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, and Sony, head over to The Wrap.

(image via Shutterstock)

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