The brand new Charlie’s Angels premiered this past weekend, earning about $8.6 million at the North American box office. Unfortunately, that’s considered a “flop” by Hollywood standards. But Elizabeth Banks, the movie’s director (and its writer and its producer and an actor in it), had some words to say about the movie, and why it’s perceived as a bust.
She told the Herald Sun that if people don’t buy tickets, it sends a message that action movies about women aren’t good.
“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,” she said.
Banks also had a great point about the kinds of films being made these days: “You’ve had 37 Spider-Man movies and you’re not complaining! I think women are allowed to have one or two action franchises every 17 years—I feel totally fine with that,” she told The Wall Street Journal.
She then raised some hackles with her commentary about other superhero movies with women leads:
“They’ll go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre,” she said.
Her points were pretty nuanced: “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.”
People found this statement pretty controversial and had some words for Banks about this:
Superheroes aren’t a male genre. I love you Elizabeth Banks, but that’s completely erasing the amount of female, non-binary and non-gender conforming fans of these heroes that have given us a bright place to escape to when the world hates us. It doesn’t belong to cis white males.
— Nolan Dean 🌈 (he/him and they/them) (@nolandean27) November 18, 2019
Nah @ElizabethBanks blame yourself. The marketing for #CharliesAngels was awful, I was in grade school when the 2000 version came out. It was great. This version didn’t flop because of men, women didn’t want to see it either. It never had the “it” factor, seemed reductive https://t.co/zOLbGS1t2j
— Ameshia Cross (@AmeshiaCross) November 20, 2019
Sadly it’s just not the movie people want at the moment. Saying it’s men’s fault didn’t help either to be honest. Still like your other movies though. Even movie 43.
— Come Geek Some (@ComeGeekSome1) November 19, 2019
Elizabeth Banks does know that women didn’t want to see her Charlie’s Angels movie either, right? I get it, Hollywood and the world really, is frustrating and sexist as heck but she should just face facts. As tough as it is, her movie just didn’t look appealing to people.
— ZAK (@Zakiyyah6) November 18, 2019
But a lot of people loved it, too:
I saw it on Sunday and loved it so much! It was funny and action-packed and empowering and gorgeous to look at and just exactly what I needed to see this weekend. And Kelly Garrett?! Swoon. Thank you, thank you!
— Sarah Baker (@barahsaker) November 19, 2019
Still, it’s pretty amazing that she did basically ALL of the work on the film, even if it’s a “flop.”
We’re thinking she’s got to be pretty upset by the less-than-stellar turnout, but it’s totally worth noting how hard she worked.
Well, if you’re going to have a flop, make sure your name is on it at least 4x. I’m proud of #CharliesAngels and happy it’s in the world.
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) November 18, 2019
Whether you agree with Banks or not, and whether you liked the movie or not, women still need more visibility in Hollywood. According to the Hollywood Reporter, women made up just 8 percent of directors in 2018, despite major box office successes from women like Ava Duvernay.
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