“Trolls.” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” “Moana.” “Inside Out.” “Wonder Woman.” All were global box-office hits that had women in leading roles.
They were also part of a broader trend. According to findings from the Creative Artists Agency andt shift7, a company started by the former United States chief technology officer Megan Smith, the top movies from 2014 to 2017 starring women earned more than male-led films, whether they were made for less than $10 million or for $100 million or more.
The research also found that films that passed the Bechdel test — which measures whether two female characters have a conversation about something other than a man — outperformed those that flunked it.
“The perception that it’s not good business to have female leads is not true,” said Christy Haubegger, a C.A.A. agent who was part of the research team. “They’re a marketing asset.”