A reader pointed us to a blog called xkcd, where the poster asks, "Quick, name a few recent popular movies where the two top-billed stars are female." Does your mind go blank? Hollywood loves a buddy movie, but when it comes to women, they're usually love interests, or looking for love interests. Especially recently. Of course, indie films and horror or sci-fi flicks often get away with having a woman as the lead (and not in love), but indie ≠ Hollywood. And directors get away with having a woman as the hero in a horror or sci-fi movie because it's not real. It's a fantasy when Milla Jovovich kicks zombie ass or Uma Thurman slashes ninjas with a samurai sword. In any case, the guy from xkcd tallied up the male/male pairings, the male/female pairings, the female/male parings and female/female pairings of a few years' worth of movies, using IMDB to pinpoint the 20 biggest titles of each year. Here's what he found:
As someone who grew up on flicks like Desperately Seeking Susan and The Craft, I'm disappointed that, out of the 110 flicks counted, xkcd says, "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." And sure, there's Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, but are they the norm? He continues:
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.
Our brother site Defamer recently asked Whither the superheroines? But the question should be whither the women? Not the girlfriends or wives or chicks that dudes want to be girlfriends or wives. Just women hanging out together. Alien came out in 1979. Thelma & Louise was released in 1991. Gas Food Lodging wasn't exactly a hit. Mean Girls is four years old. As a former screenwriting major, I'd like to remind you: When you buy a ticket to the movies (or rent a DVD), you're casting a vote for what kind of movie you want to see more of. The silly, testosterone-fueled antics of Wedding Crashers sparked a glut of boys behaving badly (You Me, And Dupree). You may not love the premise of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's Baby Mama, but think about what message Hollywood producers will take away should the movie flop.
Two Female Leads [xkcd]
Related: Whither Our Superheroines? An Outraged Culture Demands To Know [Defamer]
Earlier: The Future Of Female Comedies May Sit Squarely On Tina Fey's Shoulders
Where The Hell Are The Strong Women?
Women In Hollywood Speak Out On Women In Hollywood
"Cordial", "Charming" Studio Chief Explains Why Women Can't Sell Movies (Except Julia Roberts)