50 Powerful Women in Entertainment

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While women are still vastly underrepresented in positions of power in the entertainment industry – and even blue-chip stars with international reputations and shelves full of Oscars and other awards tend to be paid less than their male counterparts – it is undeniable that women have been making strides in recent years in film, television, and music.

For example, in 2010, Kathryn Bigelow made history as the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar (for “The Hurt Locker”). Bonnie Hammer became chairman of NBCUniversal Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises in 2019. Ann Sarnoff took the reins as chair and CEO of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group in 2020. (These are the highest paid CEOs at America’s largest companies.)  

As to managing business during the pandemic, Donna Langley, chair of Universal Pictures, made the controversial but ultimately applauded decision to make premium releases available on demand for streaming. 

As theaters gradually reopened after their initial pandemic shutdown in 2020, filmgoers sought escapist fare, and director Patty Jenkins delivered with “Wonder Woman 1984,” a sequel to her original “Wonder Woman” in 2017 – taking in $166 million in box-office gross. (These are the 100 top-grossing movies of all time.)

Meanwhile, African-American filmmakers Ava DuVernay (“Selma,” “When They See Us”) and Lena Waithe continue to shake up the status quo with socially conscious topics as well as a commitment to create more opportunities in film and television for people of color and LGBTQ artists. 

All these women and more are wielding power in various ways in the entertainment industry – successfully demanding better roles, bringing passion projects to fruition, running companies. 

To compile a list of 50 powerful women in entertainment, 24/7 Tempo gathered information from IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, as well as from various online biographical sources, entertainment industry media, and financial and general-interest sites.

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