Quick, name a few recent popular movies where the two top-billed stars are female.
Here’s a miscellaneous survey I just did, tallied by gender of top billed/second billed star:
|20 biggest movies of 2007||10||10||0||0|
|20 biggest movies of 2006||11||7||0||2|
|20 biggest movies of 2005||11||7||2||0|
|20 biggest movies of 2004||10||9||1||0|
|20 biggest movies since 1977||15||5||0||0|
|IMDb Top 20 of All Time||15||5||0||0|
There were about 110 movies with a male lead and 5 with a female lead. Of the second-billed females, nearly all are written as love interests of the first-billed man. There were over sixty movies in the sample with two male stars top-billed. The only movies with two top-billed female roles, on the other hand, were The Devil Wears Prada and Scary Movie 4.
My cousin has been working on tallying (by hand!) all movies with two top-billed female stars. She reports that there are staggeringly few of them, and the roles fall mainly in two genres: mother-daughter bonding movies and horror films. Hollywood is not creating female heroes.
Suppose we had a generic Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer movie with some evil organization (say, a shadow government headed by Dick Cheney or whatever) bent on destroying something (say, the internet). Who would you rather see battling their way through the system to stop them — another basic Bruce Willis/Denzel Washington/Vin Diesel character? Or River Tam, Sarah Connor, Lola from Run Lola Run, or Beatrix Kiddo? Not only could the film industry suck less in the examples it sets, we could have some awesome movies.
Notes: If anyone wants to expand my list into a more comprehensive and authoritative survey, I’d love to see the results. I did my tally by hand, using The Numbers for the basic lists and stars, plus IMDb and Wikipedia to get a consensus on billing order.