Angelina Jolie was the most financially successful female director of 2014


Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken is still in theaters, and it’s still making money. The domestic box office haul is currently at $109 million, and Unbroken has made more than $20 million overseas. This has led Indie Wire to call the film the “sleeper hit of the holiday/Oscar season.” Although we could probably argue that Selma is steadily making more money now that it has a wider release, plus American Sniper just owned the box office this past weekend, I still think it’s worth discussing Unbroken’s financial success. Angelina has proven herself a capable director and storyteller (I had issues with some of Unbroken’s adapted script, but that’s not necessarily on Jolie), and Angelina is the most financially successful female director of 2014.

Universal, the studio that distributed Unbroken, also released a new featurette a few days ago. The video includes a short behind-the-scenes interview with Angelina as she’s on set, plus some archival interview clips and photos of Louis Zamperini. Angelina points out that Louis always wanted to see his story made into a film and he had to wait 50 years for it to happen. This is just something nice – it was probably made for the DVD, but it’s nice that they’ve released it now.

Incidentally, Angelina had a great 2014 financially speaking overall. Maleficent was the biggest hit of Angelina’s career, and the total box office haul (domestic and foreign market) exceeded $750 million. And I don’t even think that includes DVD sales. So Angelina has proven that she’s a major player behind and in front of the camera.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

82 Responses to “Angelina Jolie was the most financially successful female director of 2014”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. ToodySezHey says:

    Financial success, wedding. It was a good year.

    • Someonestolemyname says:

      Well done Angelina!

    • kudos says:

      She worked really, really hard to get the job and then did a beautiful job with a very limited budget considering the incredible scope of what she brought to the screen. It was a story no man (or woman) could figure out how to film for almost SIXTY YEARS, but Angie did it- that should be getting more praise, but it’s Angie, so people diminish her accomplishments as a matter of course. So glad that Louis got to see some of it & could die knowing his message was getting out in a film- like he always wanted.

      • bananapanda says:

        And this is only her SECOND movie as Director. I admire her ability to find good mentors, study hard and work at it.

    • jammypants says:

      and Damed by the Queen

  2. Sarah says:

    Not bad for a ‘minimally talented spoiled brat’ eh, Angie? Living well is the best revenge.

  3. jinni says:

    Well it’s not like there was a lot of competition seeing that there aren’t that many female directors getting a chance to make movies, but congrats.

    • Jessica says:

      Especially big, high-grossing movies.

      • Yep. She did it though. I hope that she works more and more, and inspires a lot of other actresses to jump in. I think that if a lot more, younger actresses get into stuff like directing and producing, a lot of us regular young women will get into it too. I didn’t really start looking into famous directors, producers–start getting interested int them–until maybe a year or so ago. Because what are they? Men. As far as celebs go, I’m a lot more interested in women, and women led films and tv shows.

      • Amcn says:

        Especially, big high grossing war dramas. Definitely a male dominated genre.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      The lack of female directors is a very depressing thing. Those behind the camera control the stories being told in front of the camera.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I am shocked I tell you, shocked….said no one.

  5. Frida_K says:

    Yay! Now this is exciting, happy news that brings joy to this Brangeloonie’s heart.


  6. Loopy says:

    Dayum! Maleficent made that much???? I didn’t even realise non James Cameron movies can even make that much money in such a short period these days.

    • DJ says:

      Anything is possible when it IS a Disney movie. It’s a worldwide known brand!

      • Erm, Prince of Persia was a Disney movie….it made 333 million dollars, on a 200 million dollar budget. Maleficent’s budget was 180 million.

        And it’s a combo of all things–it’s not JUST Angelina, and it’s not JUST Disney. Both things came together to make a great and successful film. Maybe if it hadn’t been Angelina it would’ve made a lot less. Maybe if it hadn’t been Disney, it would’ve made a lot less. This is why there are collaborations.

        But the fact is, Angelina gets paid a shitton of money to put butts in seats, and she always delivers. I read on Vulture, that for “Salt”, she got paid 17-20 million + 20% of the gross of the film. You don’t get that because you have giant lips and are with Brad Pitt and six kids.

        And that was from four years ago–just imagine what she got for Maleficent.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @DJ, who wrote: “Anything is possible when it IS a Disney movie. It’s a worldwide known brand!”

        Then how do we explain the Disney films “John Carter” and “The Lone Ranger?”

        Angelina Jolie’s performance ‘made’ “Maleficent” a huge success. Even the critics who panned the film said Angie’s performance was the film’s only saving grace. Is it really so hard to give credit where credit is due?

      • DJ says:

        If Malificent were made without Disney, there is no way it would have done the numbers it did. So, yes… Credit is given where credit is due!

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @DJ, who wrote: “If Malificent were made without Disney, there is no way it would have done the numbers it did. So, yes… Credit is given where credit is due! ”

        Families would have gone to see the film regardless of whether it were distributed by Disney or Universal. I saw the trailers during action films like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and couples sitting next to me were whispering “We can bring the kids to see this.” They didn’t say “Oh it’s Disney, let’s bring the girls to see this.” In fact, the two times I saw “Maleficent” the theater was 75% families–mothers ‘and’ fathers with kids, girls ‘and’ boys–proving that the film had something for everyone … which is the mark of a good film, Disney or otherwise.

        Angie Rocked the Shite in “Maleficent.” Without her, Disney or not, the film would not have grossed over $750 million world wide ($241.4 million was Domestic gross).

        If “Maleficent” had failed, like “John Carter” and “The Lone Ranger,” people would have crowed that it was Angie’s fault the film flopped. She therefore deserves credit for the film’s success.

  7. Say What!? says:

    How many female directors were in the running for this title? Two?

    • sally says:

      so sad but true

    • DJ says:

      SayWhat, that was my question. Wow, what an honor…. The competition consisted of two.

    • jinni says:


      • Loopy says:

        good point, and is this just Hollywood because there are more female directors in other markets I would imagine.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Loopy, other markets are just as bad.

        Globally in 2014, Females are 7 percent of directors, 19.7 percent of writers, and 22.7 percent of producers. (Per the study “Gender Bias Without Borders’ released by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media)

      • Veruca Salt says:

        Haha jinni and DJ, did Angie spit in your coffee this morning because you two seem to be tag-team downplaying Angelina’s success in all the comments. 😜 What is up?

      • Alice says:

        Maybe it’s more like making the point that declaring her the most financially successful female director of 2014 is a bit pointless when the field consists of two people. Well actually one, because Selma didn’t go into wide release until January 2015. So, she’s at the top of the pile that consists of….herself. Lol

    • Dani2 says:


      • BNA FAN says:

        I love when the non fans tries to tell the fans to relax. We are happy for Angie, as fans. Fans are rooting for Angelina to be the best she can be and keep striving to be the best. I hope Unbroken makes a boat load of money for their kids and her charities.

      • Dani2 says:

        @BNA LOL you’re still missing the point. Deuces ✌️

    • BNA FAN says:

      If there were two or three families in the running, Angelina was #1. It’s so hard for some people to give credit where it’s due. Btw, Maleficent was market on Angelina’s name. If it had failed, she would be blamed. Now that Maleficent made 3/4 of a billion dollars we should give Angelina most of the credit.

      • Dani2 says:

        People are saying that to highlight the lack of diversity in Hollywood, her fans really need to relax and try to understand the wider context of what’s being discussed here.

      • Say What!? says:

        You’re really missing the point of my comment.

        Also I’m pretty sure Disney, a known family brand for more than 50 years would also like to get some credit for Maleficent, no? And perhaps the author of this very famous fairytale too.

        Sometimes people are so blinded by paying homage to Jolie they miss pretty large details or veer off the point entirely. Now back to my original point.

        There are not enough female directors in Hollywood. The ones that do get noticed are often famous Oscar winning actresses who are household names first or are somehow related to a famous man. See Jolie, Jodie Foster, Diane Keaton, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow. Oh, the irony of that. Hey, go have this whole other career first and prove you’re a valuable brand and then we’ll spend some money letting you direct.

        And now we’re suppose to be excited that Jolie is the most “successful female director of 2014″ a title she earned competing against ONE other woman, a woman who didn’t have the advantage of being was one of the most famous women in the world before she ever got behind a camera so she never had a chance at this title anyway. Although she too had to have a whole other career first in PR and she did manage to snag a Best Picture nomination.

        I’ll get excited when women have two or three out of the five slots as Best director and it was a woman who just a few years earlier was a video store clerk or barely making ends meet waiting tables. Men get to make that big career leap all the time.

      • Agree with Say What? As an Angelina fan, yeah, I’m excited that movie she did was so successful–because that means that she’ll be able to to do more, and make it be seen as something of the norm. But on the whole?? She had competition of like 8 other women….compared to 50 or more other male directors. It’s like saying you came in fourth place, when there are only four runners…..

    • jessia says:

      Say What is right, She got the gig because of her known celebrity status and not really her talents as a director. Her only competiton was 1 other woman,. A woman who had to struggle to become a director and ended up with good reviews and Oscar nominations for her film. If people are gonna criticize Kendel Jenner for becoming a model due to her name status and her family members fame, then people have a right to say Angelina got to direct Unbroken because of her celebrity status and her connections and not really her talent as a director. Reviews for Unbroken are panning the entire film and her directing. It has a rating of 49% on RT, the film isn’t that good to be honest. But Angie will keep getting these gigs that should be going to proper directors because she is a famous star. That’s not fair to people who are real directors and have the skills and talents for it.
      I have more respect for women who go through the proper training to become directors, who have to work their butts off for many,many years before landing a gig and make actual good work.
      Even a lot of male directors didn’t have her advantages when they first started out .I don’t recall directors like Speilberg, Kubrick, Jackson, Nolan, Fincher,Tarintino, Scott, Spike Lee,etc getting to direct a popular book with a budget of 65 million from a large studio like Universal as their 2nd directing feature. They have had to paid their dues as directors too.

      • Camille (The Original) says:

        Big Fat Balls!

      • Bloorville says:

        Angelina gets to direct movies because she makes money for the movie industry on the strength of her name alone. She’s not making ensembles with 10 other stars, she’s not playing a side piece of a guy who has a dog, or just a guy. It’s her name that moves tickets. Thus, she gets first look at scripts to act in, and she gets to spread her wings in the director’s chair. So I don’t know what you’re talking about – she got to direct because of ‘connections, and celebrity,’ if that was all it took – Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian would be getting greenlit to direct major motion pictures. She brought this project in on time, and it made money, picked up a couple Oscars nods in other categories, and is sitting at fresh with top critics. In Hollywood, it’s about return on investment. You should sit down, ya sound dain bramaged, not to mention like a spitting clawing cat lady. Get. over. it.

      • jessia says:

        @ Bloorville. You are missing my point and even Say Whats point. She got to direct it because she is already a famous actress. Lets not ignore how her first directorial debut was a flop. Most directors who are starting out do not get to direct a popular book as their 2nd feature. Angie certainly doesn’t have the chops for it but they still gave it to her anyway despite her lack of talent and skills in the field. That’s tells you something. This opportunity would not have been given to her if she were a woman who just got out of grad school and was struggling for work in Hollywood. She got the gig based on her celebrity status its pretty obvious.
        You Angie fans are too blind-sided for your love of her. She didn’t and still hasn”t earned her place as a director. I have more respect for women who don’t have her advantages and have to work hard for their dream career. Even male directors who don’t have her platform are struggling.
        You sound immature btw. Its obvious you didn’t read my comment properly but you Angie fans take any comment not praising her to be an insult and attack anyone with a different opinion then you.
        What top critics? Most of the critics panned the movie and her directing. The movie has a rating of 49% on RT. That’s not good. She didn’t earn praise from them like Ava Duverny did. Ava is the one who got major Oscar noms and great reviews for her film. Not Angie. Please, where are Unbroken’s Best Picture or Best Director nods? Where are the fantastic reviews praising Angies directing? Can you show them to me please?

  8. doofus says:

    wow, congrats to her! very impressive!

    let’s hope this leads to more studios giving women the reigns!

  9. Lol, it wasn’t THAT hard–she was like what? 1 of 3 female directors to have a movie out this year….

    But yes–I LOVED the movie. I didn’t think the script was great or bad, Kaiser….it was okay, nothing special–I was very surprised that it was a Coen bros. script. I guess with the way that their names were being thrown around, I assumed they were like master script writers or something–I haven’t seen any of their films, so I don’t know. Except maybe Fargo (if that was them).

    And I just love love love LOVE her relationship with Louis. Gah! They just don’t make men like that anymore. And my Mr. C looked a looked a lot like Louis–they have the same nose, the same great bone structure. Lol. And just made this connection–Mr. C’s wife is Italian. I wish she would’ve been coherent and strong enough to go see this movie–she still speaks Italian.

    • Dani2 says:

      I can only think of three female-directed films I watched in 2014, Belle, Unbroken and Selma. There are probably a few others that I didn’t see but I don’t think there were more than eight at best. its disappointing but not exactly surprising.

    • norah says:

      i think it is more than that – it is her name alone that brings people in either as an actress and now as a director – disney and universal did whatever they did but if people didnt like the movie they wouldnt have bought the tickets. and for whatever it is worth – yes there are 2 directors – ava and aj – who directed the better film is very subjective – but the fact that aj made money than even the male directors whose movies are nominated for best picture – is something to be thrilled about so at least credit should be given to her despite all the negativity around unbroken – same as with maleficient

  10. lucy2 says:

    She definitely had a great year at the box office.
    What’s disappointing is how little competition there is to get to the top of that list. Go down the list of the US box office results for the year, Unbroken is #26 (which is very good for something still running), Selma is #92 (should climb). But there’s NO female directors in between. There’s no others in the top 100. Any other female directed films made less than $25 million and were pretty much under the radar.
    Women are simply not getting the opportunities to direct larger budget movies. The only exception I’ve heard of since is Michelle McLaren, who will be directing the long overdue Wonder Woman movie.

    • lower-case deb says:

      outside of the top 100, i think there’s Endless Love (#103, Shana Feste–juuuust missing the top 100), Step Up (#118, Trish Shie), Beyond the Lights (#119, Gina Prince Blythewood), and Belle (#126, Amma Asante), all of which earned more than oscar nominated Mr Turner (#188) stateside.

      this year, i only watched 1 movie directed by a female: The Babadook by Jennifer Kent.

      Unbroken, Selma, Belle hasn’t got a release date yet in my country. :( may never will.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      “There’s no others in the top 100.”

      UGH, that is so terrible!

  11. T.C. says:

    It is a sleeper hit not just among female directors but of the other films fighting for a best picture nomination. The critics weren’t friendly to the film to help it’s box office. She’s already doubled the budget used to make the film and is now making pure profit. I’m glad to see Selma making more money but that film is only at $29Million now and won’t reach a $100Million so we shouldn’t compare apples and oranges.

    • norah says:

      selma was touted to be brilliant and according to its ratings the movie scored very high but the fact is it is under performed if we are judging on the basis of its box office. so point of fact – perhaps selma sd not have been released this year

  12. serena says:

    And even after those box-office successes she’s got no acknowledgment from the industry/academy.
    As for the female director.. yeah, there were at most another two? But I hope this will encourage women to stand up and Also, why a freaking different category? Just director is fine, no need to put a gender on that!

  13. Kiddo says:

    Okay, I’m testing this hypothesis that Anti-JA comments=Anti-AJ comments. Can someone keep a tally?

  14. before dvd sales says:

    The $760 million is before dvd sales, which were very, very strong. Jolie had a piece of the merchandise, too- dolls, costumes, etc. BIG business. I think I also. read that Unbroken was the highest budget they ever gave a female director (still quite low for this type of film).

    • Andrea1 says:

      Totally domestic DVD sales for Maleficent is $73,100,668. Now that is serious money.
      Angie is doing really great career wise.

  15. lisa2 says:

    2014 was a wonderful year for her. She had so many things happening.. I’m glad the film did well and hopefully will continue to do so. A lot of people were hoping for her to fail. Once again she proved them wrong

    Now lets see if 2015 want to play the “winning game” I hope so.. I hope this year is even better

  16. Cameron says:

    Not hard to do when you’re basically the only contestant in the race, and promoted 100% by a big studio. Hopefully, more talented and capable female directors are given a chance.

    • harlequin says:

      im actually more impressed that a big studio had enough faith in her to give her this project – after having directed only one other film. what an incredible woman angelina is.

  17. kendra says:

    Did not see the movie, but I’m so happy for Angelina. She is proving that no matter what the haters and the naysayers say , no one can stop Angelina Jolie-Pitt.

  18. I do wonder how she and Brad are going to do in “By The Sea”..I read that she’s producing it (Jolie Pas), along w/Brad (Plan B), and Universal…..I don’t really see it as a film that’s going to make a lot of money, but (hopefully) score with the critics.

    But I think it’s interesting that Universal bought the rights to her movie (I read there was a bidding war with the script between studios, on ScreenDaily) before Unbroken even came out (they bought the script July 2014) and made money… I hope it’s good. It seems like it’s the kind of movie that will either be really good or a disaster. If it’s a disaster, I hope we have lots of 70s jewelry pr0n (Angelina seems to lurve giant jewels..a woman after my own heart).

    • kendra says:

      I hope the movie does well, but do people want to see a movie about a real life couple playing a couple. I know Tom Cruise and his wife at the time did that, do not know how well that did at the box office.

      • It was Eyes Wide Shut..Kubrick’s last film, I believe.
        I tried watching it and it was just way too weird and random for me, lol.

        As far as By the Sea–I have no doubt that people will go see it (or at least be interested) because it’s Brad and Angelina’s first movie since Mr. and Mrs. Smith. No doubt. Will probably get some good gossip out of it too.

        And it will also be billed as that–I remember Tom Brokaw asked her about it, in relation to that movie as well.

      • Dingo says:

        His wife, why not use her name – it is Nicole Kidman ;)

      • Veruca Salt says:

        Yes, @VC it was Eyes Wide Shut. ☺️ I loved that film though, it’s is my favourite Kubrick film. 2001, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange are all close seconds because I can’t rate which of those movies I love second. ☺️

    • Camille (The Original) says:

      Yeah I don’t see it making a lot of money (it’s an Indie film after all) and I have to wonder if it won’t get heavily criticized no matter what. I hope its a good film – for their sake.

  19. scout says:

    Great. Need more female directors like her in future.
    May be Jen Aniston can direct one this year. Can you imagine that? She will be sitting on our face EVERY SINGLE DAY of 2015!!

    • I’d be interested in something Jennifer directed. I saw the lifetime movie short that she did on Netflix, and thought she did a good job.

      • norah says:

        well she keeps saying that she wants to direct right ? so perhaps jennifer will do so – and directing a lifetime movie with others is very different than directing a film esp if there is an issue abt financing- not easy for any one nowadays to raise the money imo

      • norah says:

        but i wont hold my breath waiting for jennifer to direct – she keeps saying that she wants to do lots of things but somehow that never happens so lets just wait and see. i am just glad that unbroken managed to spread louis z’s message and introduced us to jack o connell who was brilliant

  20. anon says:

    You go , Angie. Even though I don’t necessarily love all of her work, she makes it easier for other women in the industry.
    Plus, I think she’ll get better with experience. Brad is doing a lot of great work too.

  21. Eleonor says:

    I am in love with the Versace’s gown.

  22. Ennie says:

    I love how Unbroken is doing well even when the actors are practically unknown, especially outside of the English speaking countries.
    Most of what AJ does is sold on her name, but still the fellow actors or coworkers get a shout out, like the magnificent cinematographer Deakins (cinematographer of the 1993 The secret Garden IMO, one of the visually most beautiful films ever), Miyavi and the other actors, or in the case of Maleficent, Aurora and the crow-man, he was great, and I remember him on the red carpet (as well as the baddie, who was also on Elysium, but I cannot remember their names.

  23. Amcn says:

    I wonder how much money she’s made from all this? I’m sure she will clean up from Maleficent but I doubt she got too cushy a deal for Unbroken. Its financial success puts her in a great position to get a better deal on her next directing job. Hate her if you want but she is breaking down doors that have been closed for women in Hollywood and making it easier for those who come after. And she gets kicked a lot for doing it but it doesn’t slow her down any. I am intrigued to see By the Sea.

  24. TC says:

    Gone from the big screen for 4 years and makes a triumphant return with a 750M+ box office hit with Maleficent, the most successful film of her career, followed up by a successful directorial effort for Unbroken with a $65M production budget and a cast of unknowns. One thing about Angie, she knows how to get it done and put butts in seats. And more is on the horizon (By the Sea, Africa). Waving at you Scott Rudin. :-)