Top 10 Highest Grossing Female Directors

Welcome, welcome one and all to September, or as I like to call it, Woman Director Awareness Month! This wasn’t my idea, but its a great initiative started by Directed By Women who’s Facebook page you can check out here, and I must say I rather like it.

This month I will set myself the challenge to discover and re-live some great films and television directed by female directors. I hope that many of you reading this will also join me by watching at least one bit of media per week that was directed by a woman.

To help get you started I have complied this list of the top 10 highest grossing female directors (this list was accurate as of September 2017) with a recommended selection of their work for you to check out. Let it be known that none of these women were in the top 50 highest grossing directors worldwide though. (Source: Box Office Mojo)

Would also love to hear any recommendations for female directed work in the comments or on our facebook page here.

10. Jennifer Yuh Nelson

KUNG FU PANDA 2 – Well if you want to bring your family in on Woman Directors month then this is your director. Having directed Kung Fu Panda 2 she then went on to direct number 3. Do I hear a movie marathon coming?

9. Brenda Chapman

BRAVE – Technically a co-director on the Pixar project she still had a hand in making the feisty feminist icon Merida come to life. A powerful film that got mostly overlooked on its release, but still carries a good message that highlights the importance of supporting one another and never backing down from something you stand for.


8. Anne Fletcher

HOT PURSUIT – Released in 2015 hot pursuit is basically a version of a buddy cop film but with two women as its leads. Reece Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara team up as the screw up cop and the federal witness as they are pursued by various enemy parties across Texas.  Haven’t seen this one myself but sounds like it could be a good time.

27 DRESSES – Always the bridesmaid never the bride. A romantic comedy staring Katherine Heigl who has been a bridesmaid 27 times before finally falling in love…with her sisters fiance. This film is a fun one for slumber parties with just the right amount of reality thrown in to make Katherine’s character relatable.

Other Works Include: The Proposal, Step Up, Guilt Trip

7. Amy Heckerling

CLUELESS – Okay. If you haven’t seen clueless then I don’t know where you’ve been living recently. Although, if you haven’t, now’s the chance to see a great film about a teenage girl struggling with the secret to happiness and refreshingly not wanting anything to do with boys. Of course love knows no bounds but it’s not like Cher is searching for it, which is nice. The film is also a loose adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel Emma. Seriously this should be first on your list if you haven’t seen it.


Other Works Include: Look Who’s Talking, European Vacation, Vamps

6. Jennifer Lee

FROZEN – also a co-director position but I can’t think of a more iconic female orientated animation that’s been released in the last 5 years except this one. It certainly made an impact and apart from a killer score this film, like Brave before it teaches young women especially the meaning of supporting each other, even those who aren’t necessarily like everyone else.

5. Penny Marshall

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN – Two women breaking into the male dominated world of baseball. Staring Gina Davis and Madonna, of all people, this film was a staple of the 80’s along with Marshall’s other comedy film from that era Big. Also both staring Tom Hanks. There you go two recommendations in one!

RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS –  Released in 2001 the story follows a struggling teenage mother who suffers a failed marriage all whilst trying to achieve her dream of becoming a writer.

Other works include: Awakenings, Renaissance Man

4. Patty Jenkins

WONDER WOMAN – Jenkins has only recently jumped up on the grossing list with the success of Wonder Woman and even with the sexist backlash from many, many, MANY male critics, this film really took a step in the right direction for female filmmakers everywhere. And also for female representation on film. If you haven’t yet, it is really worth supporting this film by seeing it.


Other works include: Monster

3. Nora Ephron

SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE – One of the all time classic romantic comedies staring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It’s all about finding love and that’s all you need to know. Must admit I haven’t seen this one yet but it’s on Australian Netflix at the moment so that makes it a fairly easy one to start off the month.

JULIE & JULIA – A cute bio film about famous cook Julia Child and blogger Julie Powell’s attempt to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book. Heart-warming and will definitely make you hungry. Snacks mandatory.

Other works include: Lucky Numbers, You’ve Got Mail, Bewitched

2. Betty Thomas

JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE – Whilst I will admit not one of my favourite films, it is a bit of a bitchy teen flick if you’re looking for something brainless to watch on a Friday night. The overly stereotyped characters makes it loose a bit of relatability for me, but hey I know quite a few people who enjoyed it and it is a bit of fun if you are having a sleepover.


Other works include: The Brady Bunch Movie, 28 days

1. Nancy Myers

THE HOLIDAY – This movie made me weep like a kid fallen off their bicycle. It follows two women who do a house swap from sunny California to wintery England where both of them find new friends and even love. All the relationships in this movie are executed to perfection and the situational comedy is both relatable and hilarious. Also what a great idea for a holiday! House swap anyone?

THE INTERN – Robert de Niro and Anne Hathaway star in this 2015 release about a recently retired man getting back in the game as a senior intern at a fashion magazine.

Other works include: What Women Want, The Parent Trap, It’s Complicated

All giphs by

Enjoyed this article? Why not support the blog by donating?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: