EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Just 30% of the top 100 films of 2023 featured a female lead or co-lead, according to a new report by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

It’s a substantial downturn from the year 2022, when 44 films had a girl or woman lead, the report noted.

“This is a catastrophic step back for girls and women in film,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, who co-authored the report, in a statement. “In the last 14 years, we have charted progress in the industry so to see this reversal is both startling and in direct contrast to all of the talk of 2023 as the ‘year of the woman.’”

While the report describes these findings as "awful," it also noted a positive takeaway from some of USC's other findings: The percentage of lead or co-lead actors from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group increased from the year 2022. More specifically, in 2023, 37 top-grossing films had a lead or co-lead from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, compared to 31 in 2022. 


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