On Tuesday, we investigated the Hollywood myth that movies featuring women prominently do worse at the box office than movies that don’t. The data we looked at didn’t support that claim, and we also found that films with more prominent female characters received substantially lower budgets than films without those women.
We analyzed the intersection of two databases — The-Numbers.com, which inventories box office data, and BechdelTest.com, which records films’ Bechdel Test ratings. The Bechdel Test is a three-point exam that quantifies the presence of women in a film by judging movies against three criteria: 1) Does the film have at least two named female characters? 2) Do two named female characters have a conversation at any point? And 3) Is that conversation about something other than a male character?
We relied on the median throughout our research to factor out runaway blockbuster successes and failures at both ends of the spectrum. But in case you were wondering what the most commercially successful Bechdel Test-passing films are, here’s a short list to add to your Netflix queue. All numbers are rounded and in 2013 dollars.
|4||Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace||$1,408,300,000|
|6||Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone||$1,282,600,000|
|8||Transformers: Dark of the Moon||$1,163,900,000|
|10||Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets||$1,138,400,000|
|11||Alice in Wonderland||$1,094,200,000|
|12||Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End||$1,079,700,000|
|13||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||$1,059,400,000|
|15||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1||$1,021,600,000|
|16||Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince||$1,014,500,000|
|17||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||$982,400,000|
|18||Despicable Me 2||$970,700,000|
|19||The Matrix Reloaded||$935,100,000|
|20||Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen||$908,200,000|