The box office powerhouse that is Jennifer Lawrence, and the brilliant marketing team (and great word of mouth) behind Frozen have driven the box office to a record breaking week. Why is it worth noting? Because both films are driven by female stories. Catching Fire is all about Jennifer Lawrence. Sure, it’s about the books – but the books are about Katniss. And Katniss is about Jennifer Lawrence. Frozen is a film about two sisters, one of whom, a Disney princess, doesn’t even have a love interest at all and the other isn’t ever saved by a handsome prince. The box office this week can’t have only been driven by young girls – there had to be crossover for those films to have taken in those kinds of numbers. So this holiday season remember to make a quiet toast to all of the interesting ways the demographics of box office, the Oscars and cinema has been changing this year.
Devin Faraci wrote over at Badass Digest that it’s high time to start thinking about women in the superhero genre differently after this week:
There’s a conventional wisdom that female-led movies don’t open or play well. That’s dead. And then there’s a conventional wisdom that there’s only so much of an audience for female-led movies. That was killed good this weekend; there’s $200 million worth of an audience. Of course Hollywood always takes the wrong lessons from things, and the next time a female-led movie doesn’t do well everybody in power will point to that as if it means something (it probably means the film wasn’t good. Besides being female-led, Catching Fire and Frozen are both very good movies), but in the meantime this is something that will be noted in boardrooms across Los Angeles this week.
I’m all but guaranteeing that you will see Captain Marvel in a movie come Marvel Phase Three. With these numbers, with the success of The Hunger Games franchise, there’s no way that Marvel can ignore the fact that there’s a lot of money to be made with a female-led picture. The studio has long been aware of the female market – the Marvel movies are dripping with female gaze – but now they have evidence that this market comes out and spends in force. Marvel has had plans for her for a while, but now those plans have must become solidified. (I’m trying to bully Marvel a little here, to be honest)
Will Warner Bros take the same lesson? Is this weekend the kick in the pants Wonder Woman needed? I know the studio has been half-heartedly throwing the property around for a while; if, after this weekend, they announce a movie for real they could come out looking like leaders and winners. Surely Warner Bros sees the grosses on Gravity and understands that men will come to a movie with a woman in the lead, right?