Donald Draper wrote:
I think its going to take a female superhero who is completely a standalone character to be a success. Both Supergirl and Electra are spinoff of male characters. I am not saying a good spinoff or supporting female in a lead role can not be well made. But to have big impact and be embraced.
All of the non-superhero female leads listed are not cousins or girlfriends of other more well known characters.
The problem is, there aren't that many female superheroes who aren't
either spinoffs of male superheroes or members of teams. Wonder Woman is the main one who comes to mind. The others are generally not very well-known. Amethyst? Dazzler? Hellcat?
Still, I think it's oversimplistic to say that spinoff characters can never succeed. Again, we simply don't have a large enough sample set to draw any reliable conclusions about cause and effect. I mean, sure, the Halle Berry Catwoman movie bombed, but that was because it was an incredibly bad movie. I bet an Anne Hathaway Catwoman movie, spinning off the version of Selina from The Dark Knight Rises
, would do tons better. Catwoman is a character who's largely transcended her spinoff origins to become one of DC's major solo heroines, despite technically being part of the extended Batman family. She-Hulk is a popular character who's become very distinct from her male counterpart, having her own adventures in their own separate style and being a major standalone character despite her origins. You could say much the same about Carol Danvers, who was originally a distaff knockoff of Captain Marvel, but now is
EDIT: Okay, I'm trying to compile of list of movies about solo female comic-book heroes. What I can come up with are:
There's also Josie and the Pussycats
, but I'm not sure if they count as action heroes.
Now, all of those movies were critical or box-office failures, as far as I'm aware, but at least half of them were characters that weren't spinoffs of male protagonists. So I don't think that holds up as a determining factor.
And it is a pretty small sample size -- eight or at most nine movies in the past 45 years. Now, there have been literally tens of thousands of movies made in that span of time, and I think it's safe to say that a sizeable majority have been mediocre to poor, since bad movies always outnumber good. So if you pick any eight movies at random out of that set of tens of thousands or more, there's a very good chance that you'll pick eight failures. Which is why I don't think the sample size is large enough to conclude that the gender of the heroines, or their relationship to male heroes, or any particular thing is a causative factor. Statistically speaking, there's no pattern that's provably distinct from random chance. Except the pattern that disproportionately few female-led comic-book movies are being made in the first place.