2023’s Top Movie Data Proves That Barbie Happened At Just The Right Time
8 mins read

2023’s Top Movie Data Proves That Barbie Happened At Just The Right Time


  • Barbie’s feminist messages hit home in 2023 Hollywood, highlighting the lack of female-led movies.
  • Movie data reveals a decline in female protagonists and speaking roles in 2023 films.
  • Despite challenges, Barbie’s success at the box office could inspire more female-led movies in the future.



Barbie‘s impactful messages of feminism came at just the right time since movie data from 2023 proves Hollywood desperately needs the lesson. The Greta Gerwig movie features predominantly female protagonists, so the dialogue is women-led. Unfortunately, upon reflection, Barbie was one of the few movies of the year that can say this, which is ironic considering the themes of the iconic doll’s story. In this way, 2023 wasn’t a great year for feminism in Hollywood, which is precisely why it’s so important that this is when Barbie hit theaters.

Barbie dominated the global box office in 2023, raking in $1.4 billion gross. This is thanks, in part, to the comical way Barbie drives home points about feminism and the generationally acquired expectations often put on women and men under the patriarchy. Naturally, the 2023 movie led to some debates regarding how necessary these lessons are. Barbie doesn’t focus on feminist issues of the past, like women’s suffrage, but instead explores the unconscious ways that society is still pitted against women today. Ultimately, 2023’s 100 top movies prove Barbie right.


Barbie Movie Ending Explained – What The Villain Twist & Barbie’s Decision Mean

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is a bit more layered than expected. We break down the film’s ending, including what fueled Barbie’s final decision.

The Percentage Of Female Protagonists Went Down In 2023 Compared To 2022

A recent study observes the disproportionate opportunities for men and women in Hollywood in 2023.

Margot Robie as Barbie in Barbie worried

The buzz surrounding Barbie was so prominent in 2023 that it’s easy to assume that it was the best year yet in the way of the leading lady. It seemed that everywhere we looked, Margot Robbie, America Ferrera, and Kate McKinnon were there, being equally as hilarious as they were powerful, both in the movie Barbie and in interviews promoting the film. However, when zooming out and looking at 2023 movies as a whole, women didn’t play as prominent a part in Hollywood as it would seem.

A recent study by Dr. Martha Lauzen (via Screen Rant) revealed that the number of female protagonists in movies dropped from 33% in 2022 to 28% in 2023. This is even more alarming when considering that, in 2020, 48% of movies had a woman in the leading role. This progress has been lost in the years since, with 2023 now standing out as the depressing low point for female actors. Then, to make matters even worse, Lauzen’s data also indicates that women filled significantly fewer speaking roles in 2023 than their male colleagues.

Movie Data Shows That Women Had Fewer Speaking Roles Than Men In 2023 Movies

Despite Barbie’s themes, women’s voices are far less prominent in film than men’s.

Perhaps even more alarming than the data revealing that there were fewer women in leading roles in 2023 than in 2022 is that female actors filled significantly fewer speaking roles than men the year Barbie hit theaters. Lauzen looked at the top 100 movies of the year, including Barbie, and found that only 18% of these movies had more female-speaking parts than male. 5% had an equal number, while a whopping 77% of 2023’s top 100 movies had more male speaking roles than female.

Of these roles, Lauzen noticed a difference in the ages of movie characters and their actors from gender to gender. Of the speaking female roles in 2023’s movies, only 30% were played by actors over 30 years old, and those over 40 only made up about 13%. This number went down even more drastically over 50, an age group that comprised only 7% of female speaking roles. On the other hand, male speaking roles didn’t begin tapering off until after the age of 50, and still far less significantly. Ultimately, this is precisely what Barbie was on about.


How Hollywood Has Completely Misunderstood Barbie

Barbie might be an Oscar nominated, critically acclaimed box office smash, but Hollywood has seemingly learned all the wrong lessons from its success.

2023’s Movie Data Proves Just How Important Barbie’s Message Is Right Now

Margot Robie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken in Barbie flipping in a car

The movie data from 2023 is ironic, considering these are precisely the topics that Barbie touched on. The film explored the effects of the patriarchy on both men and women, demonstrating how the expectations placed on both genders can negatively impact everyone involved. Barbie reflects the damage of a society that pressures men to lead and sees women pushed to the wayside while still expecting them to be impossibly young, beautiful, and compliant. Clearly, this is a highly relevant topic since this is precisely what is reflected by the movies of 2023.

Robbie’s character learned in Barbie that the world expected her to look perfect and beautiful from within a box. Since Hollywood has fewer leading or speaking parts for women, and those available were reserved for younger actors in 2023, it’s clear that the circumstances of Barbie weren’t hypothetical. These are messages that are desperately needed at this present moment in history, both in Hollywood and the wider world.

The fact that male
star Ryan Gosling received an Oscar nomination while Gerwig and Robbie were snubbed also demonstrates how important the movie’s central themes are for Hollywood today.

How Barbie Can Inspire Future Changes In Hollywood

Margot Robbie in Barbie (2023) (1)

Despite the predominance of male-led movies in Hollywood in 2023, Barbie was the top-grossing film of the year. It is among the few since 2019 to join the billion-dollar club, with even Oppenheimer failing to cross this financial threshold. Though Gerwig’s movie has failed to rake in many awards this season, there’s clearly something about this film that resonated with audiences, making them willing to pay for tickets and tell their friends to do the same. Since money makes the world go round in Hollywood, other movie-makers may want to duplicate this success.

It will take more than a movie about a doll to make a significant change, but Barbie’s perfect timing could be the beginning of something great.

Barbie‘s profits at the box office could, therefore, inspire more female-led, feminist-central movies in the near future. This would mean more women on screen and perhaps a better balance between male and female actors and the roles they are given, which could ultimately impact the way we think about feminism going forward. Of course, it will take more than a movie about a doll to make a significant change, but Barbie‘s perfect timing could be the beginning of something great.

Barbie Movie Poster


Barbie is a film adaptation of the generational iconic toy directed by Greta Gerwig, who co-wrote the script with Noah Baumbach. The film centers on Margot Robbie’s Barbie who is expelled from Barbieland and travels with Ken (Ryan Gosling) to the real world in search of happiness. The film also stars Simu Liu, Will Ferrell, and several other famous celebrities in cameo roles.

Release Date
July 21, 2023

LuckyChap Entertainment , Mattel Films , Heyday Films

Warner Bros. Pictures

Margot Robbie , Ryan Gosling , Simu Liu , Ariana Greenblatt , Helen Mirren , Nicola Coughlan , John Cena , Will Ferrell , Ritu Arya , Michael Cera , America Ferrera , Alexandra Shipp , Kate McKinnon

114 Minutes

$100 Million

Where To Stream

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