Professor Zoom wrote:
What I'm saying, though, is that there's usually a good reason why awful movies make lots of money, and it's usually one (or both) of the two I've named. None of the many failed female-led action movies had either of those things going for them.
Basically, your argument comes down to name recognition and being a part of a franchise. Which, arguably, Laura Croft was a part of. And it's not a BAD movie, like Catwoman. It's an ok movie. Like Thor. Or Iron Man 2.
Tomb Raider 2 (which was really the one that failed - the 1st one did ok) wasn't quite as bad as Catwoman, but almost. And sequels only make big bucks if people really liked the previous movie. An imdb score of 5.5 for Tomb Raider 1 seems to point against that. (Iron Man 2: 7.1 / Thor: 7.0)
Here's my point: there just isn't any conclusive evidence that any of the big female-led flops failed because they starred women. All of them were lackluster movies, and you could tell that they weren't going to be any good from the trailers.
On the other hand, there are now a number of examples for popular genre movies starring women that did make a lot of money by actually appealing to female audiences, such as The Hunger Games, and the Twilight saga. There were even some that made a decent amount of money despite not being all that good/popular, like Snow White & the Huntsman, or Salt.
So when Hollywood executives and people here say that female-led movies don't sell, that's based on a double standard. As I said before, nobody would claim that the gender of the protagonist had anything to do with the failures of, say, Green Lantern, Battleship, or John Carter.
It may be true that there aren't a lot of successful examples of female-led action films, but there also aren't any examples (that I can think of) of such movies failing despite the high quality of the movies themselves and/or their marketing campaigns.