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Old November 24 2012, 04:34 PM   #11
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Location: Washington State
Re: Is WB simply afraid of Wonder Woman?

Hollywood is afraid of movies starring women in general. Take a look at the domestic 2011 top twelve flicks: none primarily star a woman, and only one, the Twilight movie, primarily co-stars a woman (I'm not counting Hermione as a primary star here, as she's one part of a trio at most, and Harry really is the primary star, so it's not an even trio, either). You have to go to #13-14 for The Help and Bridesmaids. 2010 is a little better in that regard, with Alice in Wonderland at #2 and Twilight and Tangled at #4 and #10, but after Alice you have to go all the way down to #22 for another movie primarily starring a woman (Salt). 2012 so far has Hunger Games and Brave at #2 and #5, and Twilight at #10. In other words, primarily women-powered movies make up about a fifth of the top ten on a good year. It's also worth noting that, Bridesmaids and part of The Help side, pretty much all of the "women" in question are teenage girls rather than mature adult ladies.

San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick Lasalle often talks about a sociological reason for this imbalance: women in relationships are more likely to want to "get out of the house and do something" than men, so they often defer to men on movie choices, who tend to pick male-centric flicks, which is why you see considerably more women-centric TV shows than films.

As for Wonder Woman, I've argued before that superpowered women in primary leading roles present a particular challenge to writers in terms of crafting compelling emotional arcs. The most badass leading ladies, such as Sarah Connor in T2, Ripley in Aliens and even Katniss in Hunger Games tend to be strongly defined by maternal/familial protective instincts. The Underworld and Resident Evil series have been notable exceptions, but the field remains a risky one.
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