Why Was 'Twilight' Director Axed From Sequel?

Martha Lauzen, who helms the center and annual study at San Diego State University, told ABCNews.com that Hollywood is "in the midst of a multi-year decline," not just for women directors, but producers, writers and cinematographers.

"It's called prejudice, discrimination, gender stereotyping," director Martha Coolidge told ABCNews.com, stating the reason she believes there are so few women directors. "Why are there not more of them to pick from? They're not hired in the first place. We're told: 'Women are too soft; they can't take the heat; women don't really want to do this job.' It's frustrating to women like myself."

Coolidge, who, over four decades, has directed such features as "Valley Girl," "Rambling Rose" and "The Prince and Me," is heartened by the fact that people are talking about Hardwicke.

"At least a woman has directed a big hit and it's actually making news," she said during a break in shooting on her latest project, "Tribute," based on a Nora Ephron novel. "This is the situation men have been in and now we've got a woman in it, and that's good."

Shortage of Women Directors

"It's a boy's town," Silverstein said. "Directing is the ultimate job. You are the king, you tell people what to do and you're in charge. And there's a very small list of men who are on it. Here's a woman who made it on the list. She worked her butt off, achieved a big box office success and has been summarily kicked off the list."

Coolidge said the thing to watch for now is Hardwicke's next project. Variety said she has two in the works with the company that produced her film "Thirteen."

"There are other situations were women did not move into opportunities that men would have," Coolidge said. "One is [Kimberly Peirce] the director of 'Boys Don't Cry.' How long did it take her to get another picture? I feel like the situation may be more fragile for a woman than a man."

One thing "Twilight" does illustrate is the findings of Lauzen's latest study "Women @ the Box Office," which showed that, contrary to popular belief, women are not "bad box office."

"If you level the playing field, if you give these films similar budgets, film made by women or with female protagonists will generate similar box office grosses as films made by men or with male protagonists," Lauzen said.

"But perception is reality," she added. "These biases are deeply ingrained. It's very difficult to change certain points of view. 2008 could really mark a sea change in perceptions, so I'm hopeful."

So is Basinger. She said two of the best films she has seen this year, "Wendy and Lucy" and "Frozen River," were made by women directors.

"When we come to the end of the year, there are going to be films that were huge at the box office that were directed by women and big at the award ceremonies that were directed by women," she said. "And that's progress."

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