Films in 2016 saw record number of female lead roles

Posted at 11:56 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-21 23:56:25-05

NEW YORK — Thanks to films like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Arrival,” Hollywood saw a record number of female lead roles in 2016.

Females made up 29% of protagonists in the top 100 films at the U.S. box office, according to a new study by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film.

That number was up 7 percentage points from 2015, which represents “recent historical highs,” according to the center.

The study found that men made up 54% as a main character in the top films of last year. (Another 17% of the movies had ensembles as protagonists.)

Women also made up 37% of major characters, which was up 3 percentage points from last year — another high.

Films like "Rogue One" helped 2016 see a record number of female protagonists on screen.

Films like “Rogue One” helped 2016 see a record number of female protagonists on screen.

Last year showed that films with female leads can not only break the box office, but can make waves in awards season.

“Rogue One,” the top film of the year, saw Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso lead a pack of rebels against the evil Empire in Disney’s first “Star Wars” spinoff. The film went on to make more than a $520 million domestically.

Other female led films like “Hidden Figures” and “Arrival” saw impressive box office totals, and both are nominated for Best Picture at this Sunday’s 89th Academy Awards.