The Charlie’s Angels reboot directed by Elizabeth Banks, starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Baliska hit cinemas this past weekend with little to no fanfare. Despite garnering mediocre to positive critical reviews, the film bombed at the box office, raking in $US 27.9 million worldwide with a $US 55 million budget. Unless a miracle happens, the film will continue to plummet in the coming weeks and will likely end its run barely recovering its budget.
In an interview with IndieWire, Elizabeth Banks (who also wrote, produced and starred in the film) said that people need to go and watch this film or it might reinforce a sexist stereotype that men don’t go to action films featuring women.
Look, people have to buy tickets to this movie, too. This movie has to make money. If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.
I see where Elizabeth Banks is coming from. Look, I personally did not like the film and gave it a negative review without sugarcoating anything. So, I can’t and won’t encourage other people to go see the film. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if big Hollywood studio execs look at Charlie’s Angels’ box office receipts and deduce that people don’t go and watch movies that are centred around women, without taking into consideration that this particular film is bland, an uninspiring mess and based on an IP that’s no longer relevant. Hollywood studio execs, which mostly consists of old white males, are known to react that way.
Which is why it was extremely important that Wonder Woman succeeded at the box office (and Black Panther too — for reasons that involve skin colour, not gender).
What I do not agree with is Banks’ follow-up statement:
They’ll go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre. So even though those are movies about women, they put them in the context of feeding the larger comic book world, so it’s all about, yes, you’re watching a Wonder Woman movie but we’re setting up three other characters or we’re setting up Justice League.
What is a ‘male’ genre? The likes of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel show that comic book movies can be for everyone, regardless of gender. The success of those movies — particularly Wonder Woman, which came at a time when the DCEU’s stock was plummeting — meant debunking an old school Hollywood mentality that women-centric films, particularly big-budget extravaganzas do not perform well at the box office. It’s largely because of Wonder Woman‘s success that we got Captain Marvel and are now getting a Black Widow spinoff film and Birds of Prey.
To use Banks’ term, I would say that Terminator also belongs to the ‘male’ genre. That film bombed at the box office too. What genre does Doctor Sleep belong too? Cause nobody went and watched that, either. These films don’t belong to the ‘Male genre’, they belong to the ‘masses-don’t-care-about-this-IP-anymore genre’.
But before anyone gets too angry at Elizabeth Banks, she did clarify her statement about Wonder Woman, etc.
By the way, I’m happy for those characters to have box office success, but we need more women’s voices supported with money because that’s the power. The power is in the money.
While I agree 100% that we need to vote with our dollars. I also think that we should vote only if said film deserves our vote.