Special Report

The Biggest Blockbuster Weekends for Movies Directed by a Woman

James Gourley / Getty Images

The eagerly anticipated film “Barbie” has surpassed box-office expectations and has become a summer blockbuster, a professional triumph for director Greta Gerwig and a source of pride for all women filmmakers. (It is shaping up to be one of the most influential movies directed by women.)

Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, “Barbie” received Rotten Tomatoes scores of 90% from both critics and audiences, and shattered the domestic box office record for a female director, bringing in $155 million in its first weekend, topping the previous record of $153 million for 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.  

Other films by female directors have started strong, as well. To determine the biggest opening weekends for movies directed by women, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on historical box office performance from Box Office Mojo. Movies directed by women were ranked based on domestic ticket sales during their opening weekends. Supplemental data on ratings from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, are current as of July 2023.

Click here to see the biggest opening weekends for movies directed by women

Our list of the biggest opening weekends for movies helmed by women includes all manner of genres, including fantasy (“A Wrinkle in Time” by Ava DuVernay); rom-com (“What Women Want” by Nancy Myers); historical (“Unbroken” by Angelina Jolie); comedy (“Pitch Perfect 2” by Elizabeth Banks); and musical (“Mamma Mia!” by Phyllida Lloyd).

On the list there are two of the action/sci-fi “Matrix” films from Lana & Lilly Wachowski, a pair of  animated movies from Vicky Jensen (in collaboration with male directors, as are three other films on this list), and two “Kung Fu Panda” installments directed or co-directed by Jennier Yuh Nelson. (Here’s a list of the 50 best movies directed by women.)

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

25. Cocaine Bear (Feb. 24, 2023)
> Opening weekend box office: $23.3 million (36.1% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.0/10 (81,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 71% (2,500 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 67% (312 reviews)
> Directed by: Elizabeth Banks

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

24. Mamma Mia! (July 18, 2008)
> Opening weekend box office: $27.8 million (19.3% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.4/10 (227,487 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 66% (438,451 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 55% (185 reviews)
> Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

23. The Matrix (March 31, 1999)
> Opening weekend box office: $27.8 million (16.2% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10 (1,759,161 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 85% (33,324,202 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 88% (155 reviews)
> Directed by: Lana & Lilly Wachowski

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

22. Unbroken (Dec. 25, 2014)
> Opening weekend box office: $30.6 million (26.5% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (170,643 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 70% (53,438 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 51% (234 reviews)
> Directed by: Angelina Jolie

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

21. Birds of Prey (Feb. 7, 2020)
> Opening weekend box office: $33.0 million (39.2% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.1/10 (208,874 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 78% (15,742 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 79% (430 reviews)
> Directed by: Cathy Yan

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

20. A Wrinkle in Time (March 9, 2018)
> Opening weekend box office: $33.1 million (33.0% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 4.2/10 (43,150 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 26% (8,863 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 42% (342 reviews)
> Directed by: Ava DuVernay

Source: Courtesy of STX Entertainment

19. Hustlers (Sept. 13, 2019)
> Opening weekend box office: $33.2 million (31.6% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (90,980 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 65% (16,665 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 87% (353 reviews)
> Directed by: Lorene Scafaria

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

18. What Women Want (Dec. 15, 2000)
> Opening weekend box office: $33.6 million (18.4% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.4/10 (200,208 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 54% (629,162 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 54% (123 reviews)
> Directed by: Nancy Meyers

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

17. The Proposal (June 19, 2009)
> Opening weekend box office: $33.6 million (20.5% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.7/10 (307,178 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 67% (860,401 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 44% (189 reviews)
> Directed by: Anne Fletcher

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

16. Deep Impact (May 8, 1998)
> Opening weekend box office: $41.2 million (29.3% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.2/10 (170,608 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 43% (340,851 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 45% (86 reviews)
> Directed by: Mimi Leder

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

15. Kung Fu Panda 3 (Jan. 29, 2016)
> Opening weekend box office: $41.3 million (28.8% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (144,300 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 78% (100,039 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 87% (179 reviews)
> Directed by: Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

14. Shrek (May 16, 2001)
> Opening weekend box office: $42.3 million (15.8% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 7.9/10 (638,681 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 90% (1,378,744 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 88% (208 reviews)
> Directed by: Vicky Jenson & Andrew Adamson

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

13. Shark Tale (Oct. 1, 2004)
> Opening weekend box office: $47.6 million (29.6% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.0/10 (173,935 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 45% (655,552 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 36% (183 reviews)
> Directed by: Vicky Jenson & Bibo Bergeron

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

12. Kung Fu Panda 2 (May 26, 2011)
> Opening weekend box office: $47.7 million (28.8% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (265,857 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 74% (145,531 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 81% (182 reviews)
> Directed by: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

11. The Matrix Revolutions (Nov. 5, 2003)
> Opening weekend box office: $48.5 million (34.8% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.8/10 (467,833 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 60% (792,363 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 35% (217 reviews)
> Directed by: Lana & Lilly Wachowski

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

10. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Dec. 23, 2009)
> Opening weekend box office: $48.9 million (22.3% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 4.5/10 (46,231 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 49% (368,643 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 20% (84 reviews)
> Directed by: Betty Thomas

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

9. Brave (June 22, 2012)
> Opening weekend box office: $66.3 million (28.0% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (388,254 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 75% (279,530 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 78% (252 reviews)
> Directed by: Brenda Chapman & Mark Andrews

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

8. Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15, 2015)
> Opening weekend box office: $69.2 million (37.6% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.4/10 (148,719 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 64% (79,615 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 65% (218 reviews)
> Directed by: Elizabeth Banks

Source: Courtesy of Summit Distribution

7. Twilight (Nov. 21, 2008)
> Opening weekend box office: $69.6 million (36.1% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 5.2/10 (443,020 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 73% (626,307 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 49% (222 reviews)
> Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

6. Black Widow (July 9, 2021)
> Opening weekend box office: $80.4 million (43.8% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.7/10 (354,330 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 91% (10,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 79% (446 reviews)
> Directed by: Cate Shortland

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

5. Fifty Shades of Grey (Feb. 13, 2015)
> Opening weekend box office: $85.2 million (51.3% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 4.1/10 (306,670 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 41% (83,839 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 25% (281 reviews)
> Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

4. The Matrix Reloaded (May 15, 2003)
> Opening weekend box office: $91.8 million (32.6% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (540,965 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 72% (942,933 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 73% (245 reviews)
> Directed by: Lana & Lilly Wachowski

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. Wonder Woman (June 2, 2017)
> Opening weekend box office: $103.3 million (25.0% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (611,008 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 83% (135,481 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 93% (470 reviews)
> Directed by: Patty Jenkins

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

2. Captain Marvel (March 8, 2019)
> Opening weekend box office: $153.4 million (35.9% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 6.8/10 (492,018 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 45% (100,162 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 79% (542 reviews)
> Directed by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

1. Barbie (July 21, 2023)
> Opening weekend box office: $155.0 million (100.0% of total)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (82,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 90% (2,500 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 90% (331 reviews)
> Directed by: Greta Gerwig

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