10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (2023)

Over the past few decades, Hollywood has been witnessing a gradual shift in the portrayal of female characters in films, resulting in the emergence of a new era of female-led movies. These movies not only showcase women as powerful protagonists but also generate significant box office revenue.

The success of these female-led movies can be due to their beloved source material, catchy songs, strong female lead characters, and impressive special effects. The expansion of their respective franchises has captivated audiences around the world. By breaking barriers and shattering box offices, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Frozen IIhave changed the filmmaking game with actresses leading the charge.



10 'Alice in Wonderland' (2010) - 1.02 billion

10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (1)

Directed by Tim Burton, 19-year-old Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) returns to the magical world of Underland to reunite with her friends like the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and save the world from the tyranny of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).

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This 2010 fantasy adventure movie is an extension of the beloved source material of Lewis Caroll novels Alice's Adventures in Wonderlandand Through the Looking Glass. The technique of live-action and CGI animation create stunning visual effects that the audience truly enjoyed. With huge worldwide box office success, it re-ignited the trend of "adult" fairy tale movies.

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9 'Finding Dory' (2016) - 1.02 billion

10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (2)

This computer-animated movie is the sequel to the popular Disney movie, Finding Nemo. It follows Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) as she embarks on an epic journey to find her parents with the help of her friends Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). With the trail leading to the Marine Life Institute, she realizes she must save her mom and dad from captivity.

With Dory being a fan-favorite sidekick, the sequel was bound to be a hit. Throughout the movie, Dory brightens the ocean with her happy-go-lucky exterior, but her emotional story is what truly enchants its audience of all ages. As they venture through a magical under-sea world, the characters teach us life lessons filled with heartwarming humor and charm.

8 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' (2016) - 1.05 billion

10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (3)

The first standalone Star Wars story brings a new narrative prior to its beloved original trilogy. Scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is forced to work as the Empire's lead engineer on the most potent weapon in the galaxy, the Death Star. His daughter, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) must join a group of resistance fighters to steal the plans of this moon-sized space station for the Rebel alliance.

Free of any expectation, the audience received a fresh take on a new Star Wars story despite its misleading movie trailer. It is more than a simple spin-off, but tells a tale separate from the Skywalker story, bringing the people who have risked their lives for the greater good under the spotlight. As a stunning prequel to Episode IV, the necessity of the Empire being taken down made the story much more important.

7 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' (2019) - 1.07 billion

10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (4)
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To conclude the nine-part Skywalker saga, Disney released the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. With the evil Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) returning from the dead, Rey must finalize her Jedi training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The Resistance led by Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) will take their final stand against the First Order in the Sith world, Exogol.

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Critics felt as if the movie was more of a fan service rather than focusing on telling an iconic Star Wars story. With beloved prequels and original characters coming back, Disney provided amazing visual effects but traded the specific arcs of the main characters to rely on nostalgia. Although it's sad to see the ending of the Skywalker era, new stories within the universe are more than welcome.

6 'Captain Marvel' (2019) - 1.13 billion

10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (5)

A former United States Air Force pilot, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), was exposed to the energy of the Tesseract after the destruction of the Light-Speed Engine. In the accident, she obtained cosmic powers and was turned into an extraterrestrial Kree warrior. With the help of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Danvers tries to uncover her past as she tries to end the intergalactic war between her people and the Skrulls.

As the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to feature a female lead, it gave an outstanding introduction to a new female superhero. Academy Award winner, Larson was praised for her performance as it set up Danvers to become a major player in the MCU. It fits perfectly into the franchise, tackling female empowerment and representation.

5 'Beauty and the Beast' (2017) - 1.26 billion

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In the small town of Villeneuve, Belle (Emma Watson) is taken prisoner by the Beast (Dan Stevens) in his castle. After some time, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and finds a way to see more than the Beast's hideous exterior. As they begin to learn more about each other, she sees the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside. If they can fall for each other, the Beast's curse can be reversed.

This live-action re-telling of the classic romantic Disney animated movie is considered one of the highest-grossing live-action musical movies. It takes classic characters and conforms them to a new audience. The ability to stay true to its original music and advanced stunning visuals proves how timeless the story truly is. Praised for its cast's performance, it provides insight into the importance of inner beauty and the power of love.

4 'Frozen' (2013) - 1.28 billion

10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (7)

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's 1844 fairy tale The Snow Queen, the movie tells the tale of Princess Anna (Kristen Bell) as she teams up with an iceman named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer Sven, and a snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) to find her beloved sister, Elsa (Idina Menzel), who had accidentally trapped their kingdom in an eternal winter with her ice powers.

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This empowering story of sisterhood takes the audience through a story of two sisters who experience every stage of life together from playing when they were younger to ignoring each other for nearly a decade but always supporting each other. As the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to win Best Animated Feature, the killer soundtrack of catchy singalong songs such as "Let It Go" and brilliant animation appeals to such a wide audience from children to adults.

3 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' (2017) - 1.33 billion

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The second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy continues as Rey seeks help from the legendary Luke Skywalker in order to help the Resistance fight against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. With the Resistance fleet in danger, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Finn, and Poe Dameron lead their squads and attempt to escape a First Order attack.

The Last Jedi's stunning visuals offer an entertaining spectacle as the audience gets to explore the Star Wars universe further. Although it seemed a little all over the place, the subversion of expectations, unforgettable Star Wars quotes, and interesting character development led to great box office numbers.

2 'Frozen II' (2019) - 1.45 billion

10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (9)

Three years after their first adventure comes to the sequel of Frozen. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf must travel to an Enchanted Forest after Elsa unintentionally awakened the elemental spirits, causing the whole kingdom to evacuate. In order to set things right, they must understand the origins of Elsa's magical powers.

Following in the footsteps of the original, it was easy to assume that this movie would become a hit. Although it isn't as magical as the first, Frozen II had an engaging storyline, amazing animations, and truly lovable characters that audiences of all ages enjoyed. Whether you laugh, cry, or cringe, Disney's box office numbers prove that they truly know how to tell a good story.

1 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (2015) - 2 billion

10 Highest-Grossing Female-Led Movies, Ranked (10)
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Thirty years after Return of the Jedi, General Leia Organa searches for her brother, Luke Skywalker while Poe Dameron retrieves a map of Skywalker's location. With the help of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhe), Rey, Finn, and Dameron, they work with the veterans of the Rebel Alliance to fight the successor to the Galactic Empire, the First Order and Kylo Ren.

This continuation of the Star Wars franchise introduced new characters but also brought back a few beloved characters from the original trilogy. The impressive visual effects made the universe feel even more alive than the past movies. The excitement of a new trilogy brought in new and old fans to make this the highest-grossing female lead movie.

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What is the most successful film directed by a woman? ›

Patty Jenkins

Wonder Woman” had the highest domestic opening for a female director, and was the highest-grossing movie from a female director up to that time. She has gone on to direct its sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984,” and is set to direct the third installment of that successful franchise.

Which movie tops the list of highest-grossing film of all time if you take into consideration an adjusted dollar figure for inflation? ›

When those prices are adjusted for inflation, however, then Gone with the Wind—which was the highest-grossing film outright for twenty-five years—is still the highest-grossing film of all time.

Which actress has made the most money from movies? ›

Scarlett Johansson

Who is the best female director in the world? ›

The 25 best working female filmmakers:
  1. Céline Sciamma.
  2. Chloé Zhao. ...
  3. Julia Ducournau. ...
  4. Greta Gerwig. ...
  5. Andrea Arnold. ...
  6. Jane Campion. ...
  7. Jennifer Kent. ...
  8. Kelly Reichardt. ...
Mar 8, 2023

What was the fastest movie to hit $1 billion? ›

Fastest to $1 billion

Titanic became the first movie to gross over $1 billion worldwide on March 1, 1998, in 74 days of release. The list below is restricted to the 10 movies that reached the milestone the fastest.

What is the number 1 best movie of all time? ›

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

What movie has pulled in the most money? ›

Top Lifetime Grosses
RankTitleLifetime Gross
2Avengers: Endgame$2,799,439,100
3Avatar: The Way of Water$2,314,813,237
117 more rows

Who is the greatest female actress of all time? ›

The List: Best Female Actors of All-Time, Per Experts
  • Ingrid Bergman. With her powerful performances and iconic roles, Ingrid Bergman deserves the number one spot. ...
  • Bette Davis. ...
  • Audrey Hepburn. ...
  • Meryl Streep. ...
  • Katharine Hepburn.
Mar 17, 2023

Who is the most rich TV actress? ›

Hina Khan is the richest TV female star. According to various reports, she has a net worth around Rs 52cr (approx). She is also one of the highest-paid actresses in the TV industry.

Who is the highest grossing female celebrities? ›

The best-paid actress worldwide was Sofia Vergara in 2020, with an annual income of 43 million U.S. dollars. Angelina Jolie came second. She earned roughly 35.5 million U.S. dollars with for example her leading role in "The Eternals".

Who is the highest paid female director? ›

Patty Jenkins Becomes Highest-paid Female Director in History.

Who is the only woman to win an Oscar for best director? ›

On March 7, 2010, Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director, for her movie “The Hurt Locker,” about an American bomb squad that disables explosives in Iraq in 2004.

Has a woman ever won an Oscar for Best Director? ›

Becoming the third woman in Academy Awards history to win Best Director, Jane Campion snagged the Oscar for her modern-day Western at the 2022 ceremony. Campion also made history when she was nominated, as she became the first woman to be nominated twice for Best Director — her first nod was in 1993 for The Piano.

Has a movie directed by a woman ever won best picture? ›

Winner: The Hurt Locker - Kathryn Bigelow (2009)

To this day, The Hurt Locker is the only Best Picture winner to have been directed by a woman. Kathryn Bigelow also won Best Director for her work in this film, the only woman to win the award in Oscars history.

Who is the female famous movie director? ›

Director Sarah Polley's moving masterpiece, Women Talking, rightly won Best Adapted Screenplay at the 75th Writers Guild of America Awards, the 28th Critics' Choice Awards, and the 95th Academy Awards. It's now among the key films directed by women that have left their mark on cinematic history.

How many female directed films have won Best Picture? ›

In the 95-year history of the Academy Awards, there have been 591 films nominated for the top prize for best picture. Eighteen of those films were helmed by a woman director.

Who is the most successful movie director of all time? ›

Steven Spielberg

Has a woman ever won best screenplay? ›

Muriel Box (The Seventh Veil) was the first woman to win in this category; she shared the award with her husband, Sydney Box.

Who was the only female to win the Oscar for Best Director? ›

On March 7, 2010, Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director, for her movie “The Hurt Locker,” about an American bomb squad that disables explosives in Iraq in 2004.

What actress was known as the most beautiful woman in films? ›

Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film (Screen Classics)

Who is the best female movie actor? ›

The List: Best Female Actors of All-Time, Per Experts
  • Ingrid Bergman. With her powerful performances and iconic roles, Ingrid Bergman deserves the number one spot. ...
  • Bette Davis. ...
  • Audrey Hepburn. ...
  • Meryl Streep. ...
  • Katharine Hepburn.
Mar 17, 2023

Who is the most important actor actress in a film? ›

A leading actor, leading actress, or simply lead (/ˈliːd/), plays the role of the protagonist of a film, television show or play. The word lead may also refer to the largest role in the piece, and leading actor may refer to a person who typically plays such parts or an actor with a respected body of work.

Who was the last woman to win best director? ›

Kathryn Bigelow: The Hurt Locker (2009)

And finally, we have a winner! Kathryn Bigelow, the fourth woman ever nominated for Best Director, was also the first woman to win.

Who was the first woman to win best actress? ›

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with Janet Gaynor receiving the award for her roles in 7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise.

What actors films have grossed the most money? ›

As of February 2023, Samuel L. Jackson was the highest-grossing leading actor in the United States and Canada, which combined are known as the North American movie market. Movies featuring Jackson as a protagonist collectively amassed 5.72 billion U.S. dollars domestically.


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