Men like female-led action movies—yours just looks sucky
By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief
Elizabeth Banks has been the subject of scrutiny as of late because of her comments on her recently released directed (and produced and starred) film, Charlie’s Angels (2019), and in my opinion, rightfully so. Her comments blame men for the success (rather, non-success) of her newest film. But don’t take my word for it, take a gander at exactly what she said.
During a Fast Company interview, she explains her process of directing movies and describes how she shot it through a feminist lens and makes it all about powerful women. Which is all fine and dandy—who doesn’t love a good action movie starring powerful women? What I take issue with what she says after this. “My real plea is for men to have enough empathy to go see movies starring women, because I’ve been asked to see movies starring men my whole life, and happily have done so, and I don’t know why men don’t return the fucking favour.” Well guess what Elizabeth, you don’t have to plea. Men can, will, and have been the biggest supporters of movies starring women—they just don’t want to see your movie because it looks bad.
Putting aside for one second the dozens of female-led movies men have flocked to see, how rude is it for Banks to say men don’t have enough empathy to see female starring movies, as if empathy has anything to do with film success or what makes people decide to see a film in theatres. If your movie looks good, people will see it; it’s not a matter of empathy, it’s a matter of making a good product that people will want to pay money to watch. Putting the blame on men is a lazy way to explain why your film did so bad in the box office. Furthermore, why is it on men to see the movie, maybe there are lots of women who don’t want to see your movie either—me, for one. Maybe it just doesn’t look good no matter what gender you are.
Back to the female-led action films. Have we forgotten about Alien 1 and 2? Lara Croft Tomb Raider? Terminator? Ghost in the Shell? The Hunger Games? The newer Star Wars films? Wonder Woman? Captain Marvel? Kill Bill 1 and 2?!?!?! I could go on… These are all female-led action movies that did very well in the box office and are regarded as classics, and men happen to be a major part of the support of these films. In fact, in a Fandom Entertainment YouTube video, they show a graph including data from US company PostTrak of the breakdown of the gender demographics of the opening weekend successes of female-led films. As shown on the infographic, the majority of the people seeing these actions films are men. So, Banks shouldn’t be complaining about men not seeing her movie because they simply don’t like female-led movies—it’s an obvious fallacy.
But she’s not done complaining yet. In another interview with The Herald Sun, Banks says “If this movie doesn’t make money, it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.” Maybe, just maybe, your movie isn’t making money because it’s… not… good?
Her newly released Charlie’s Angels has already notoriously tanked, only making about $8.6 million in the box office during its opening weekend. Until she stops illogically blaming men for her film’s successes or failures, I don’t think any of them will be box office hits.