The stats crowd at fivethirtyeight.com have a feature comparing the financial backing and success of films with their performance on the Bechdel test for the portrayal of women in films. Their findings show hope for a transformation in women’s portrayal in entertainment…so long as entertainment executives are paying attention to the numbers.
We found that the median budget of movies that passed the test — those that featured a conversation between two women about something other than a man — was substantially lower than the median budget of all films in the sample. What’s more, we found that the data doesn’t appear to support the persistent Hollywood belief that films featuring women do worse at the box office. Instead, we found evidence that films that feature meaningful interactions between women may in fact have a better return on investment, overall, than films that don’t.