In many dark corners of the internet, ignorant movie fans comment on the rise of female characters leading franchise films out of a bizarre fear of inadequacy, hoping it is merely a trend. Now, new data has confirmed that not only is female representation better for the culture, but it also results in successful films at the box office.

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and shift7 collected data from films released between 2014 and 2017 with budgets ranging from less than $10 million to more than $100 million. The film was considered to have a female lead if a female was the first billed actor in the credits. The data confirmed that each budgetary range saw these films doing better at the box office than films without a female as the lead.

Besides this, the study also concluded that films, where two women have a conversation that isn’t about a man, enjoyed a more successful box office run, on average.

“This analysis affirms data showing that diversity has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line,” TIME’S UP President and CEO Lisa Borders shared in a statement. “As studios consider their fiduciary responsibilities to their investors, these findings offer a clear approach to delivering the best results.”

Still, there are many variables to keep a check on, regarding the success of the films, like the franchise’s familiarity with the audiences and whether or not a film featured ensemble casts, like MCU films and Star Wars. However, the data does refute the notion that films focusing on a female character might be considered a move, especially in big-budget blockbusters.

“This is powerful proof that audiences want to see everyone represented on screen,” former Sony Pictures Chairman Amy Pascal expressed. “Decision-makers in Hollywood need to pay attention to this.”

A complaint voiced by a sexist subset of fans is that franchises or films which were once dominated by male characters are now forcing a “feminist agenda,” seemingly forgetting that the movement merely seeks towards equal rights to both, men and women. More females in established franchises show our society as more accurately represented, opposing the idea that only men can be heroes.

“What we see on screen affects how we see ourselves and each other, and can increase or decrease confidence,” shift7 CEO Megan Smith shared. “When people who have been traditionally under-represented are stereotyped or left out of the story entirely, we diminish confidence and deprive people of role models and directly hold back the country’s economic and social potential.”

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