Will Wonder Woman’s Success Greenlight More Female-Made Superhero Films?
This weekend’s opening box office records for the new Wonder Woman movie should have been expected because female superhero films are a hot ticket, right? Not according to Hollywood executives who supposedly have their fingers on the pulse of audience interests. In 2015, an email leaked from Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter suggesting that female superheroes simply weren’t a good idea. After the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, an entire Twitter campaign focused on the absence of merchandise featuring the incredibly popular female superhero, Black Widow. Similar outrage resulted after the highly anticipated release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when Rey, the main female protagonist, was nowhere to be found on any merchandise. Fans demanded merchandise with their favorite character.
Hollywood is a business. But it is a business based on fans. Fifty-one percent of the US population is female. While not all female superhero fans are female, Hollywood has been missing the mark for years by ignoring this demographic. This past weekend proved this with the release of the movie version of Wonder Woman and it’s record-breaking $300 million international opening weekend. With speculation already surrounding a sequel, discussion about the Joss Whedon-helmed version of Batgirl, and Marvel’s upcoming version of Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson, is it safe to say we will see more female-led superhero films? It’s a hopeful thought, but not a guarantee.
Marvel and DC still rule the world of superhero movies. The next important phase is to have more female led superhero films outside of the Marvel/DC canons. More stories written, directed and produced by women. Now that Wonder Woman has broken the glass ceiling and shown that, yes, a well-written, well-directed and produced story about a female superhero CAN be made, and make money, Hollywood has taken notice. That’s great. But it’s time to cultivate different voices. Just as they did with Patty Jenkins. One of the reasons this film was so successful was because she was not part of the inner circle of men who have been telling the same stories for the past twenty years. Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon are incredibly talented. So are many other filmmakers out there with different perspectives.
Cultivating a new era of female superhero storytelling with original heroes and stories who reflect more of the diversity of who we are is the next step. Hollywood will scramble to create stories based on formulas and franchises they think will sell. As female filmmakers, we can make it easier. It’s the perfect time to create the types of characters and stories we want to see.
Micky Small is a graduate student in Digital Media and Performance at Arizona State University by day, and building a production company with original female superheroes by night. Follow her @femmepwrdprod
Latest posts by Micky Small (see all)
- ‘Supergirl’ S4 : Episode 2 Recap and Review: “Fallout” - October 30, 2018
- ‘Arrow’ S7:01 Recap and Review: “Inmate 4587” - October 16, 2018
- ‘Supergirl’ S4:01 Recap and Review: “American Alien” - October 16, 2018