Mamma Mia! Women in Hollywood Showing The Money, Closing Gaps?

What do you get when you bring together an inter-generational group of independent working women to sing, dance, bond, thrive, make their own sexual and reproduction choices, run successful businesses and wear magnificent costumes spanning decades?The answer is you get a Hollywood box office hit, No. 1 on its opening night with $34 million at the box office to be exact. And it could catch up to its prequel when all is said and danced; that would be $616 million in sales.Read more in Take The Lead on 50 Women Can Change The World in Media and Entertainment“Universal/Comcast Corp.’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again earned a hearty $14.277 million on its opening day, including $3.4m in Thursday previews. That is way above the $9.8m opening day of the original Mamma Mia on this weekend in 2008 ($12.7m adjusted for inflation),” according to Forbes.Yes, it could be the appearance of Cher, flashbacks of Meryl Streep, as well as the starring role of Lily James, and the recurring roles of Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski and Julie Waters, but perhaps this movie, as well as the recent Ocean’s 8 all-female blockbuster cast show that Hollywood is changing. For the better. And for women.[bctt tweet=“Perhaps the new MammaMiaMovie, as well as the recent Oceans8Movie all-female blockbuster cast show that Hollywood is changing. For the better. And for women. #TimesUp #HollywoodEquality” username=“takeleadwomen”]Read more on Take The Lead’s 50 Women Can in HollywoodAt the recent “Women Who Kick Ass” panel presented by Entertainment Weekly, “Chloe Bennet (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Regina King (Watchmen), Camila Mendes (Riverdale), Amandla Stenberg (The Darkest Mind), and Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who) took the dais at Comic-Con to talk about female representation in Hollywood and tearing down barriers,” writes Dino-Ray Ramos in Deadline.The topic of “strong female roles” is tricky. “There’s an awareness I have,” Stenbger tells Ramos.  “I create representation because of the accessibility I have. When it comes to these roles there is a give and take game. We continue to sacrifice in order to see the representation we want.”According to Women in Hollywood, women account for 50 percent of moviegoers, the MPAA reports in 2017. Yet, in  the top 100 grossing films of 2017, women represented only 8 percent of directors; 10 percent of writers; 2 percent of cinematographers; 24 percent  of producers and 14 percent of editors.[bctt tweet=“In the top 100 grossing films of 2017, women represented only 8% of directors; 10% of writers; 2% of cinematographers; 24% of producers, & 14% of editors. #WomenInFilm “ username=“takeleadwomen”]This is why the recent news of Shonda Rhimes and her deal with Netflix is a breakthrough for women in Hollywood, and particularly women of color in Hollywood.“Rhimes’s first batch of shows for Netflix will primarily be female-powered stories, several of which will be spearheaded by female creatives. The streaming network unveiled eight programs currently in development as part of the company’s deal with Rhimes and her Shondaland banner. Rhimes signed a deal with Netflix in last year, leaving her home at ABC where she created hits like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Scandal,’” writes Sandra Gonzalez in CNN.[bctt tweet=”@ShondaRhimes recent deal with @Netflix is a breakthrough for #WomenInHollywood, and particularly for women of color in Hollywood. “ username=“takeleadwomen”]One project explores the representation of gender and power in tech, business and beyond. “Ellen Pao’s Silicon Valley memoir, Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change, will act as the source material for a another series — this one billed as a show detailing a case that paved the way for the Time’s Up movement,” writes Gonzalez.According to Makeda Easter writing in the Los Angeles Times, “A study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that over the last 11 years, 4 percent of the top grossing movies were directed by women. Only seven of those films were by women of color. The TV landscape is marginally better. A study by the Directors Guild of America looking at the 2016-17 season found that 21 percent of TV episodes were directed by women.”Susanna Fogel, director of the forthcoming female-driven comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me”, is only one of two female directors of the nearly 50 movies released this summer by major studios, Easter writes.“I’m happy to pave the way … but to be in such a small group is pretty depressing and can also hamper the storytelling because every female-directed movie carries so much weight to be everything to all women,” Fogel tells Easter. “It becomes a lot of pressure and sometimes you feel like you can’t be free and creative.”The gender gap in Hollywood productions for film, television, digital and cable is echoed in the lack of female representation in film and television criticism, which complicates reviews for female audiences.Read more in Take The Lead on women in Hollywood[bctt tweet=“The #gendergap in Hollywood is echoed in the lack of female representation in film and television criticism, which complicates reviews for female audiences. #WomenInFilm” username=“takeleadwomen”]This has been fuelled by statements from Brie Larson, Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, and Cate Blanchett, calling for more women and people of colour writing about films, arguing that female-led films can be misunderstood by male critics.A recent study “reveals that nearly 75 per cent of film critics are men, and that a larger proportion of the films reviewed by women feature female protagonists. This is especially striking when we consider that more than half of cinema-goers are women, who may understandably be eager to see representations of themselves onscreen,” writes Daniella Shrier in The Independent.This matters for a film to build an audience and to sustain it.“Diversity among top critics is important, because a critical buzz at a festival will often inform what is bought and later shown in cinemas. Publications will often send their chief critic to the big festivals, who will get to choose what they watch and review, and they will probably be more likely to write about the new, anticipated film from a male auteur than the first film from a woman director,” writes Shrier.A decade ago, the first Mamma Mia! film earned $616 million in box office globally. In the coming months, the final box office total will show if the female power in the sequel tops that in ticket sales.