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Old July 19 2012, 06:09 PM   #29
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Re: Supergirl Animated Movie

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
You're making a social argument and I'm talking business. Warner Brothers will support cultivating female characters as it does via DC comics, but its less willing to risk millions on a video production that history has shown makes less money than a similar concept for a male character.
And that's still a circular argument. As I said, there's no proof that it's specifically the gender of the lead that made the movies do badly. People are just assuming that because it fits their prejudices and expectations.

I mean, come on, how many DC Universe movies have there been with female leads? Exactly one, Wonder Woman. It is impossible to prove a pattern with only a single data point. If there were multiple movies that had nothing in common except having a female lead, and if they'd all done badly, then a legitimate statistical argument could be made that there's a correlation between the sex of the lead and the success of the movie. But that is not the case. There is one movie that performed below expectations and also had a female lead. There is no possible way to prove that there's a causative relationship between those two factors, not with only a single example. It could have done poorly because of some other factor, like its storyline. Maybe audiences weren't as interested in Greek mythology as they were in science fiction or crime stories. Maybe they were interested in Wonder Woman in principle, but didn't think the star of Felicity would be a very interesting choice in the role. And even if they had a problem with Wonder Woman specifically as a lead, that doesn't translate to having a problem with all female leads. It is simply impossible to prove that with only a single example to go on.

So to claim that the poor performance of a single female-led movie, the only one they've ever even tried, is proof that audiences don't like female leads at all is an incompetent argument at best, a grossly dishonest one at worst. It's complete and utter crap. It's not good business sense; in fact, it's completely senseless from a business standpoint because it's not based in any kind of legitimate statistics or body of evidence, but just pulling guesses and assumptions out of a hat.

I suspect that the real test of all of this is to see what happens if Marvel makes a Black Widow film. It will be interesting to see how well that does compared to Captain America: TWS, Iron Man 3 etc.
Unfortunately, Marvel Studios doesn't seem to show any interest in doing a solo Black Widow movie even though it's a no-brainer. Because they're trapped by the same preconceptions and circular reasoning as the entire industry, letting good business sense be trumped by antiquated gender assumptions.

But again, those female led superhero films will have to perform at levels equal to their male counterparts. If they don't expect the same blackout to happen all over again.
Which is still not good business, not if you don't have enough examples to prove the lead characters' gender actually is the reason for their different performance. And if studios pull the plug the moment a single female-led film bombs, that means we'll never get enough examples to test that hypothesis in any statistically valid way. And it will just remain a self-reinforcing prejudice that could be hurting the studios' business because they're pre-emptively alienating an audience that could embrace the studios' output if the studios wouldn't keep giving up on them so hastily.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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