box office

Women Set to Rule 2020 Box Office On-Screen and Behind the Camera

Five of the top 10 most anticipated movies for 2020 are directed by women

Patty Jenkins attends The IMDb Studio at Acura Festival Village on location at The 2019 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 26, 2019, in Park City, Utah.
Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Stand aside, boys. 2020 is the year of kick-ass women at the box office.

From Amazon princesses and lethal assassins to crafty harlequins and alien warriors, next year will be dominated by female characters and female directors.

Five of the top 10 most anticipated movies for 2020 are directed by women, according to a survey of more than 2,000 millennial film fans by Fandango.

Here is the full list:

  1. “Wonder Woman 1984” — directed by Patty Jenkins
  2. “Black Widow” — directed by Cate Shortland
  3. “Eternals” — directed by Chloe Zhao
  4. “Mulan” — directed by Niki Caro
  5. “No Time to Die” — directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga
  6. “A Quiet Place 2” — directed by John Krasinski
  7. “Birds of Prey” — directed by Cathy Yan
  8. “In the Heights” — directed by Jon M. Chu
  9. “Soul” — directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers
  10. “Fast & Furious 9” — directed by Justin Lin

“As we head into the next decade the new cinematic offerings look promising, with inspiring stories and new definitions of the word ‘hero,‘” Nikki Novak, a film critic and correspondent for Fandango, said in a statement. “Adventure-seeking fans can’t wait for the kick-ass leads of ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘Black Widow,’ and ‘Mulan’ – all films directed by women – to command the big screen.”

“Wonder Woman 1984,” “Black Widow,” “Eternals,” “Mulan” and “Birds of Prey” are all helmed by female directors and center around female characters. Additionally, “A Quiet Place 2,” directed by John Krasinski, focuses on two female characters and even the new James Bond flick “No Time to Die” features a female 007.

“This is not an overnight thing,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, said. “This is decades in the making.”

Female directors have flourished in the independent film market, but few have been given the opportunity to helm massive blockbuster projects. However, as women like Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”), Anna Boden (co-director of “Captain Marvel”), Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”), Ava DuVernay (“A Wrinkle In Time”), Jennifer Lee (co-directed “Frozen”) and Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect 2″) prove that female directors can make good films that garner big bucks at the box office, more women are getting a chance to shine in top roles.

If rough estimates pan out, those five top anticipated films directed by women could tally more than $4 billion in worldwide box-office sales next year.

“Wonder Woman 1984,” due in theaters June 5, is expected to haul in around $850 million, in line with what the first “Wonder Woman” film made in 2017. Although, with good buzz and turnout, the film could reach $1 billion.

Jenkins returns to direct this sequel, which takes place more than 60 years after “Wonder Woman.” Gal Gadot returns in the titular role alongside Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, her presumed dead love interest. Kristen Wiig joins the film as Cheetah, a villain imbued with cheetah-like abilities, and Pedro Pascal takes the role of Maxwell Lord, a villainous businessman.

“Black Widow,” directed by Cate Shortland (“Berlin Syndrome”), should follow “Captain Marvel’s” box-office success and surpass $1 billion. The film takes place chronologically after “Captain America: Civil War” with Natasha Romanoff, the Avenger known as Black Widow, confronting her past. It arrives in theaters May 1.

Marvel’s “Eternals” is likely to perform similar to 2014′s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” around $750 million. It will arrive in theaters Nov. 6 and is directed by Chloe Zhao (“The Rider”). The film is part of Marvel’s next phase of films and will set the tone for future estallments. The plot revolves around a group of immortal aliens who must protect humanity from their evil counterparts the Deviants.

“Birds of Prey,” a sequel, of sorts, to “Suicide Squad” could haul in between $550 million and $600 million with temperate reviews after its Feb. 7 release. Higher critical appeal could push it above the $750 million that “Suicide Squad” sold in tickets in 2016. The film is directed by Cathy Yan (“Dead Pigs”).

“Mulan” is expected to follow the trend of its fellow Disney live-action adaptations, save for “Dumbo,” and tally $1 billion worldwide by the end of its run. It arrives in theaters on March 27 and is directed by Niki Caro (“The Zookeeper’s Wife”).

“We shouldn’t have to say it, but women are as powerful a force as their male counterparts,” Dergarabedian said.

This story first appeared on

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Disclosure: Comcast, the parent company of CNBC, owns Fandango.

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