By The Nerdling
With the unsurprising success of Captain Marvel, a few different entertainment news outlets have been publishing stories like the one featured on Variety.com Monday:
The article goes on to say the myth shouldn’t be perpetuated any longer, but the click bait-y headline gives me tired head. Also, why are we questioning if this film was going to be successful?
Now, there are going to be plenty of people who will always speculate whether or not a female led action movie (superhero movies are a subgenre of action movies) is going to be profitable. Trolls who think women having any success is a threat to their fragile manhood. Studio executives who are not sure any film not starring an older, white male could be a box office hit. Entertainment writers who have nothing else to write about. But the rest of us are tired of this same headline.
How about I drop some numbers on you:
Two years ago, Wonder Women grossed $103 Million domestically in its first weekend and went on to earn over $400 Million by the end of its theater run. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and Rouge One all featured a woman as the lead hero. TFA and TLJ earned over $200 Million in their opening weekends. Rogue One did $155 Million. The three movies have a combined domestic gross of over $2 Billion. The Hunger Games films averaged over $130 Million in their opening weekends. The four films have earned nearly $1.5 Billion domestically.
Movies not based on a book or previously successful franchise:
Angelina Jolie’s Salt, which was initially written as a Tom Cruise vehicle, grossed $118 Million in its domestic run and nearly tripled its budget in the Worldwide box office. Gravity (which could be argued is an action film) held the #1 spot for three weeks at the box office during its theater run and nearly tripled its $110 Million budget domestically. The Heat is the sixth most profitable buddy cop/action movie to date with $159 Million domestically. Scarlet Johansson’s Lucy out did a Dwayne Johnson action film released on the same weekend, earning $126 domestically during its theater run.
During the 00’s, Kill Bill 1 & 2, both Charlie’s Angels movies, both Lara Croft films, Underworld, and Resident Evil took the top spots at the box office. Going back further, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Twister, and Aliens are all considered massive successes as well as quintessential action films.
Yes, there were flops:
Ultraviolet, Aeon Flux, Elektra, and Catwoman (just to name a few) bombed. Just recently The Ghost in the Shell live remake and Alita: Battle Angel both did not meet expectations at the box office. But those movies were also incredibly dreadful. Awful action movies, no matter which gender is in the starring role, are going to die a sad death at the theaters.
Good female led action films have failed as well. Atomic Blond, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Serenity are some which didn’t do well in the box office overall. But those films have found success outside of the theaters with cult followings.
What makes my head heavy is next year, when Wonder Woman 1984 hits theaters, we are going to see more articles just like this one. And again with the Black Widow solo movie. Then when Birds of Prey is released. The myth of female led superhero or action films has been disproven some time ago. Women are starved for more and will go to the theaters when one is released. Give up the click bait headline already.
The Nerdling was born in the majestic land known as Texas and currently resides there after several years of journeying through Middle Earth in a failed attempt to steal the one Ring from that annoying hobbit, serving the Galactic Empire for a time, and then a short stint as a crew member on the Serenity. Since moving back to her homeland, Nerdling flirted with a hero reputation. Saving children from the dangers of adoring domineering, sparkly vampires (champions with souls are the only vampires worth loving) and teaching normals the value of nerdom, all while rooting for her beloved Dallas Stars. Then came the Sokovia Accords and her short spell of saving others came to an end. With Darth Vader’s reputation rightfully returning to badass status, Nerdling is making her way back to the Empire. They do have cookies, you know. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.