Women spoke just 27 percent of the dialogue in 2016's top movies

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Robbie… didn’t get as much Suicide Squad dialogue as you might think – Credit: Warner Bros

Following last week’s news of a drop in the number of female directors working in Hollywood, it’s emerged that actresses seem to getting a seriously raw deal when it comes to dialogue.

Despite high-profile leading roles for the likes of Margot Robbie in ‘Suicide Squad’, Ellen DeGeneres in ‘Finding Dory’ and Felicity Jones in ‘Rogue One’, the trend is still very much in favour of men getting the lion’s share of the lines.

Data scientist Amber Thomas has published her findings on Medium.com’s FreeCodeCamp site, and they’re pretty damning.

“Movie trailers in 2016 promised viewers so many strong female characters. Jyn Erso. Dory. Harley Quinn. Judy Hopps. Wonder Woman. I felt like this could be the year for gender equality in Hollywood’s biggest films,” she writes.

“I was wrong. And I don’t make this statement lightly.”

(Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney)

Looking across the top 10 movies of the year, and following some complex data science which she details in the article, it was found that just 27 percent of dialogue was spoken by females.

It was also found that none of the top 10 movies of 2016 featured a 50 percent speaking, female cast.

Sadly, despite its female lead, ‘Rogue One’ not only didn’t help matters, it was one of the worst culprits, with just 9 percent of its speaking cast being female, and Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso taking up 78 percent of the female dialogue.

‘Zootopia’ and ‘Finding Dory’ came closest to an equal split, with 46 percent and 53 percent of the dialogue going to female characters respectively.

(Credit: Pixar/Disney)

Of the other highest-grossing movies of 2016, ‘The Jungle Book’ saw 10 percent of its dialogue for female characters, and 16 percent for ‘Captain America: Civil War’.

In ‘Suicide Squad’, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn spoke 42 percent as many words as Will Smith’s Deadshot, while Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller spoke just 222 words, 16 percent of Smith’s.

“I started this project because I had a feeling that Rogue One’s cast and dialogue were not equally divided between male and female characters,” Thomas concluded.

“I was shocked (and saddened) to find that almost none of the top 10 movies from last year were gender equal. We can do better.”

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