Women overwhelmingly purchase the tickets, women overwhelmingly select the films, and those same women are huge fans of action, science fiction and comedy.
The women of Black Panther: Okoye, Nakia and Ayo.
Fandango confirms what we already know to be true about femme kind: When given the choice, women really do prefer to kick ass. That is, they prefer to purchase tickets to action movies over all other genres, according to a Fandango study of 3,000 women. Released in honor of International Women's Day, this study sheds some additional light on why films that are strongly supported by women tend to sell well at the box office.
Hint: Women overwhelmingly purchase the tickets, women overwhelmingly select the films, and those same women are huge fans of action, science fiction and comedy. Cue the box office takes for Wonder Woman ($412 million domestically), Girls Trip ($115 million domestically) and Black Panther ($516 million domestically and counting) for proof. According to Fandango, for Black Panther alone, women accounted for 49% of the ticket sales.
So why is it that Hollywood still pushes the stereotype of female moviegoers who overwhelmingly like romantic comedies?
"It’s interesting that Hollywood still has these biases about women," says Alicia Malone, a film expert and Fandango correspondent. "So many of them are outdated. There’s the thought that women only see chick flicks and romances and this survey shows that is not correct."
Fast forward to the Ava DuVernay-directed A Wrinkle in Time, where the news of a woman director and a female cast is also moving the needle in terms of advance ticket sales, says the movie ticket purveyor. Specifically, the study found that 88% of those surveyed were excited by A Wrinkle In Time’s diverse cast and 77% were excited by a female filmmaker found in DuVernay.
The study also dovetails with the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements in that female moviegoers are paying attention to this Hollywood news and making purchase choices accordingly. But, the study also shows that the conventional thinking that woman mostly enjoy romantic comedies might be oversold. Such films ranked nearly dead last in the Fandango study.
"Even horror did better than romantic comedies," says Malone. "If you are a woman who loves Star Wars or science fiction or you love horror, you're often called fake by other fans of the genre. Women have to suffer through so much more biases when it comes to liking genre film. I can't wait until it's understood that every person likes different films no matter their gender."
Other interesting tidbits from the study reveal that 62% of the women surveyed prefer reserved seats and 57% take the reins and purchase the tickets for their movie dates. And Jumanji, which had a box office take of $394 million domestically? Well, women are partly to blame for that too. Some 56% of Fandango’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle tickets were purchased by women.
The study did not delve into racial and income differences, but the information collected further bolsters the idea that women have been trying to tell Hollywood all along. Fangirls and nerds don’t always have to be the guys. And studies and anecdotal social media evidence show that women support both men and women when the film is a good one. But films are not just entertainment, they are a moneymaking enterprise. And since women control a significant amount of box office say-so, Hollywood should take heed. Wonder Woman and Star Wars: The Last Jedi weren't box office hits for nothing.
As Malone says: "The proof is in the numbers."
Adrienne Gibbs is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow her @adriennewrites on FB and Twitter.