On Sunday, Wonder Woman officially made more than $650 million worldwide with about half the market in the U.S. It’s the third highest-grossing film of the year domestically, behind only Beauty & the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
Given the film’s runaway success and soon-to-be multi-billion dollar game, fashion accessories, and movie empire — can we finally stop saying that sexism is the reason other female lead films have failed?
Wonder Woman’s success was simply because the film had a popular and well-liked brand, good marketing, and audiences liked the movie. Rotten Tomatoes audiences gave Wonder Woman 91 percent favorability rating.
Revisionists will say that Wonder Woman broke a glass ceiling, a heroine superhero action movie that was tried and successful.
It’s baloney, Hollywood has been trying for decades to make female-lead comic adaptations but unlike Wonder Woman they all failed because fans and audiences didn’t like it. Dating back in the 1980s when Christopher Reeves was making Superman, Hollywood failed with film versions of Sheena and Supergirl. In the 90s, they tried Tank Girl, Barb Wire, and Virus, and in the 21st century, they made Josie and the Pussycats, Elektra, and Catwoman.
They were all critical and financial flops that lost the studios millions of dollars. Yet they were all being released while other female driven action films were succeeding like Terminator 2, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Charlie’s Angels, Kill Bill, Miss Congeniality, and Alien. Not to mention the television hit “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
A film’s failure or success had nothing to do with sexism and everything to do what audiences want to see. If producers can remember this rather than trying to win a culture war that only they are fighting, a lot more female-led comic book adaptions can be successful films in the future.