Female Directed Hollywood Movies that Set the Box-Office on Fire

By: GWL Team | Monday, 4 September 2023

In a dazzling triumph of cinematic artistry, Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" has emerged as a colossal box-office sensation, captivating audiences around the globe. As of August 30, 2023, the film has shattered records and rewritten history, amassing an awe-inspiring $1.345 billion in worldwide box office earnings.

Throughout cinematic history, women have made significant contributions to the world of film, both in front of and behind the camera. While their representation and opportunities have often been limited, women-directed movies have consistently demonstrated remarkable storytelling prowess and artistic innovation.

Despite facing systemic challenges, these filmmakers have crafted compelling narratives, challenged stereotypes, and offered unique perspectives on the human experience.

Let’s delve into the historical box-office performance of films directed by women, highlighting their impact on the industry and the evolving recognition of their talents.

Barbie- Greta Gerwig 

Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" has dazzled both critics and audiences alike, achieving a staggering worldwide gross of $1,031,481,000 and counting. This success has solidified Greta as the only solo female director to achieve this milestone, doing so in a mere 17 days.

With a fresh take on the iconic doll, "Barbie" explores existential themes and body image in a thought-provoking way, resonating with viewers worldwide. Paired with "Oppenheimer" in a savvy marketing move, the film's $337 million global opening weekend shattered expectations. "Barbie" is set to reign as the highest-grossing film of 2023, rewriting cinematic history.

Wonder Woman- Patty Jenkins

The 2017 film "Wonder Woman" brings the renowned DC Comics heroine to life on the big screen. The film, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, portrays Diana's mission to end World War I and resonated with people all around the world.

"Wonder Woman" made over $822 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing picture directed by a single woman at the time.

The film's popularity prompted a sequel, "Wonder Woman 1984." A third feature was planned, but it was cancelled with the reorganisation of DC Films in 2022. "Wonder Woman" is still regarded as a watershed moment in superhero film history.

Frozen- Jennifer Lee

"Frozen," co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, was a runaway blockbuster, grossing a staggering $1,284,540,518 worldwide. This story, which was first conceived in 1940, went through several iterations before winning the lottery.

Elsa's character changed from a villain to a sophisticated heroine, and the film revolved around Elsa and Anna's loving sisterly bond. This turn proved crucial.

With Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as the stars, "Frozen" became the second animated picture to break the $1 billion mark, accomplishing this feat in just 101 days. It was the highest-grossing animated film of all time until its own sequel was released. In the realm of animated film, "Frozen" stands as a joyful testimony to the power of family and love.

Fifty Shades of Grey- Sam Taylor-Johnson

"Fifty Shades of Grey," an adaptation of E.L. James' controversial novel, enthralled viewers in 2015 with its audacious depiction of a passionate, sadomasochistic love affair. The picture, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, aroused interest and discussion.

Development began in 2012, with main filming taking place between December 2013 and February 2014. Despite critical scepticism, the picture made over $570 million worldwide, and its soundtrack, which included singles like as "Love Me Like You Do" and "Earned It," was nominated for awards.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" received both praise and criticism, garnering five Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture. It produced two sequels, extending its one-of-a-kind cinematic trip.

Twilight- Catherine Hardwicke

"Twilight" captivated viewers in 2008 with its adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novel, directed by Catherine Hardwicke and penned by Melissa Rosenberg. The film, which starred Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, examined the enthralling relationship between a teenage girl and a vampire.

The project's path to the big screen took three years, including development at Paramount Pictures' MTV Films. Summit Entertainment took over after a shift in direction. Melissa Rosenberg wrote a fresh accurate adaptation, which was shot in Oregon and Washington.

"Twilight" received mixed reviews upon its release in November 2008, although it grossed over $407 million worldwide. It was a DVD best-seller and opened the door for four sequels, cementing its position in movie history.

Captain Marvel- Anna Boden

The 2019 superhero smash "Captain Marvel," directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, launched Carol Danvers into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Brie Larson played the title hero among an all-star cast that included Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn.

The film, set in 1995, follows Danvers' transformation into Captain Marvel in the middle of a cosmic conflict. It was a long-awaited milestone because it was Marvel Studios' first female-led superhero endeavour. The film created cinematic history, grossing over $1.1 billion worldwide and became the first female-led superhero picture to accomplish so. Its popularity demonstrates the growing importance of strong female characters in the superhero genre.