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Monday, December 2, 2013

Like Fire and Ice

      Thanksgiving weekend was a big one for females, and not because of TJ Maxx, Macy's, Khol's, and DSW Black Friday deals. Frozen and Catching Fire, both with female leads, amassed over $200 million by themselves over the 5-day Thanksgiving weekend. It has been a common myth in Hollywood that females can't carry a big movie by themselves, but that myth has been busted (pun intended). Frozen is Disney's adaption of the "Snow Queen" and has surpassed all expectations. Over the 5-day weekend, Frozen earned a staggering $93 million, which ranks 1st all time for Thanksgiving, and for the the 3-day it raked in $67.3 million which is 2nd all time - behind Catching Fire. Frozen also ranks 2nd all time for a movie that did not open at #1. Tangled, Frozen's counterpart, only raked in $68.7 million over the 5-day back in 2010. 
     Both of Frozen's main characters are female - Anna and Elsa. Having two females in a lead role is uncommon; even Tangled only had one. With highly positive reviews and little competition over the holiday season, Frozen can give Pixar's Monsters University a run for its money for 2nd biggest animated film of the year and top 10 all time. Frozen's polled audience was only 57 percent female, as opposed to 70-80 percent for Twilight. This shows that even with multiple female leads, men will still show up.
     If you don't know who Katniss is by now, then add that to your list of 99 problems. Catching Fire is doing what Harry Potter did last decade. Catching Fire ignited $74.1 million over the 3-day weekend and $110 million over the 5-day, both which rank 1st all time. Catching Fire's second weekend is also 4th all time. You could argue many people buy tickets for Hunger Games to see the arena battle scenes, but that's not the the main focus. Katniss Everdeen is "Hunger Games" and if more people are showing up for her than for the boy wizard Harry, then how can you say a female cant lead? Sure you have her love triangle co-stars, but it's Katniss' story, and she's the badass. Peeta and Gale do what she tells them to do.
     Wonder Woman is the most popular female superhero and one of the most popular in general, but Warner Brothers still hasn't given her the greenlight. Why? You could say they can't find a star or director, which is false. You could say the source material is too tricky and complex, which is false. You could say because Warner is afraid, which is true. Here we are about to get a 4th version of Batman, 3rd version of Superman, 2nd version of Spiderman, and more Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor sequels to come, but Diana has yet to see the green screen. Marvel has said they're looking into a female-led movie, but that none is in their current plans. There are plenty of self-righteous and sexist people in the world; it's a naive thought that the average male would refuse to see a Wonder Woman movie because she's not a man. Wouldn't men rather see a woman in a tight-fitting costume than a man anyway? Yes. Catwoman and Elektra did not fail because of their female stars, but because they were truly awful movies - with 9 and 10 percent on Rotten Tomatoes respectively, compared to the big names which land on average in the 70's and 80's. Anyone who studies movies could tell you that.
     We have plenty of movies where females co-lead with a man; when will we just let them do their own thing instead? Frozen and Catching Fire weren't affected. And you can look at past movies; Angelina Jolie's Salt was more successful than Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher, Sandra Bullock carried most of Gravity on her own, Bridesmaids and The Heat which had all female leads out-grossed recent comedies from Adam Sandler, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, Zach Galafinakis, and Sacha Baron Cohen - male Hollywood comedy heavyweights. Brave, Zero Dark Thirty, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Help, Bad Teacher, Black Swan, and Princess and the Frog are all recent action, comedy, and drama movies with female leads that audiences, both male and female, showed up for. Romantic comedies and dramas star women because they are made for women, but its time let women entertain us men too. 
     Hollywood is taking small steps forward. Melissa McCarthy has an endless number of comedies coming up, an all female Expendable's spin-off is in the works, and more females such as Kathryn Bigelow, Angelina Jolie, and Melissa McCarthy are directing bigger name movies, but until we can at least get a Wonder Woman solo movie with the same budget and focus as the big boys, not much has changed. With Catching Fire and Frozen paving the way, hopefully Hollywood will start getting the memo. Just remember, even Shaquille O'Neal has gotten to play a superhero...

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