It’s official: the 2017 box office was dominated by strong women. There were a lot of big movies released in 2017, but the ones that featured female characters in the lead roles came out a cut above the rest at the domestic box office. With the strong numbers put up by The Last Jedi over the past couple of weeks, the top three movies at the 2017 box office now all feature female leads.
Domestically, Star Wars: The Last Jedi finished number 1 at the box office in 2017, despite only being in theaters for 16 days, with $533 million. The movie had a lot going for it, being the sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and being the first movie in the franchise to prominently feature Luke Skywalker in more than 30 years. But Daisy Ridley’s Rey is the main character in the movie and the focus of this new Star Wars trilogy and she’s a character that fans have really responded to, as evidenced by the strong box office.
Coming in at the number two spot is Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, which features Emma Watson as Belle in the lead role. The movie, up until very recently, was the highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office, with $504 million. In third, but number one in the hearts of many, is Wonder Woman, with $412.5 million. With Patty Jenkins behind the camera and Gal Gadot as the titular DC hero in front, Wonder Woman has become a calling card for how much women can accomplish in the modern Hollywood landscape.
At the end of the day, Hollywood is and always has been a business. If movies make money, studios will make them, if they don’t, studios won’t make them. At the very least, nobody tries to make a flop, for the most part. These movies prove that audiences will turn up in droves to see movies with female leads. Looking at the way studios often produce movies, there seems, or at least seemed, to be a clearly outdated way of thinking that assumes audiences aren’t as interested in movies with female leads. As 2017 has shown us, that way of thinking couldn’t be more incorrect.
It’s also important that all three of these movies were well-received by critics. It’s a point that is proved time and time again, but if you make a good movie, more often than not, people will turn up to see it. With the terrible year 2017 was for sexual harassment scandals, mostly at the hands of powerful men in Hollywood, it’s nice to see powerful women come out on top. A look at Box Office Mojo shows that the global picture is a bit different, but all three of these movies are still in the top 10 for the year, with other movies like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok that also prominently feature strong female characters, raking in the big bucks at the box office as well. Times are changing.