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Screenshot/Warner Bros.
Director Patty Jenkins is the real hero.

These are the highest-grossing films directed by women—of which “Wonder Woman” now sits on top

Ashley Rodriguez
By Ashley Rodriguez


Four weekends into its theatrical run, Warner Bros.’s Wonder Woman has become the most successful live-action movie ever helmed by a woman.

The DC superhero movie, from director Patty Jenkins, brought in $653 million at the box office worldwide as of June 25. It surpassed Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Mamma Mia! to become the highest-grossing live-action movie directed by a woman, data from comScore shows. (Frozen, which was co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, holds the record for a movie overall, with its $1.3 billion box-office haul.)

Wonder Woman’s returns are split pretty evenly between the domestic and international box office.

The film made a decent-but-not-amazing debut in the US on the weekend of June 2 with more than $100 million in domestic returns. But it has continued to draw audiences worldwide. This past weekend, it brought in another $46 million globally, including $25 million in North America. There, it’s poised to overtake Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, which earned $330 and $325 million, respectively, last year.

That’s an impressive feat for Jenkins, as Wonder Woman was her first big-budget project. She made her big-screen debut in 2003 with Monster, which earned Charlize Theron the Oscar for Best Actress. It was made with a minuscule $8 million, compared to Wonder Woman’s super-sized $150 million budget. Jenkins’s other work has been primarily in TV.

Overall, Nancy Meyers is the most accomplished director on the list of highest grossing female-helmed movies. She made five movies from 2000 to 2015 that each grossed more than $180 million worldwide: What Women Want, It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, The Intern, and The Holiday. 

It’s been nearly a decade since a woman-directed live-action movie crossed the $600 million mark. The only other to do so was Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia! in 2008. It was wildly successful internationally, with 75% of its $606 million box-office returns coming from overseas.

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