Hollywood Executives' Quiet Ban on Women in the Movies, By the Numbers

Hollywood Executives' Quiet Ban on Women in the Movies, By the Numbers

On Monday, L.A. Weekly's cover story, "How Hollywood Keeps Out the Stories of Women and Girls," reported on the dearth of films written by women, or that allow women to speak on screen, or star women, or tell stories about the actions, thoughts or lives of women and girls.

According to new research by Stacy L. Smith at USC, just 11 percent of the mainstream film industry's 100 top-grossing movies of 2014 were written by females, and 19 percent had women producers. One result: Only 28 percent of characters who spoke in any capacity on screen were female, in a world more than 50 percent female.

The Weekly has now determined that all of the Big Six top executives — men who run Paramount, Universal, Walt Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox — choose films in which female actors appear far less often than men in lead or supporting roles. The studios themselves have far fewer female executives than are found in such male-dominated endeavors as the U.S. military. 

In April, in its first in a series of reports on gender bias in Hollywood, "How Hollywood Keeps Out Women," the Weekly reported that of about 375 movies made from 2010 through 2014, the Big Six chose female directors just 13 times.

Recently, the Weekly requested comments from Big Six top dogs Jim Gianopulos, Kevin Tsujihara, Greg Silverman, Michael Lynton, Alan Bergman, Brad Grey and Ronald Meyer on their track records in giving women lead or supporting actor roles. As they did last spring, these  executives, listed below, either did not respond to our emails or refused to comment on their track records.

Here are the Big Six executives' track records from 2010 through 2014:

  • Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film. Films produced by 20th Century Fox, including Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Animation and Fox Searchlight, had 154 lead or supporting roles for men, just 86 for women. 
  • Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., and Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production. Films produced by Warner Bros. had 264 lead or supporting roles for men, just 107 for women.
  • Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Films produced by Sony Pictures’ largest studios, Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures, had 302 lead or supporting roles for men, just 151 for women. 
  • Alan Bergman, president of the Walt Disney Studios. Films produced by Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios combined had 157 lead or supporting roles for men, just 67 for women. 
  • Brad Grey, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Corp. Films produced by Paramount Pictures had 217 lead or supporting roles for men, just 73 for women. (With 2.97 male roles for every female role, Grey's record is the worst.) 
  • Ronald Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal. Films produced by Universal Pictures and its art-house division, Focus Features, had 296 lead or supporting roles for men, just 150 for women.

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