Marvel have confirmed, via The Hollywood Reporter, that a Ms/Captain Marvel film script is ready and waiting. It seems a bit of a no-brainer, really, given that there also working on bringing the likes of Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Iron Fist to the big screen, and Captain Marvel is just as well known (or not, in the case of non-geeks) as they are. And yet this news came as a shock. Mainly because, until this point, Marvel has shown very little interest in getting female heroes to the big screen. Black Widow will appear in her third Marvel movie next year and is played by one of the most famous actresses on the planet, and yet has no solo movie in sight.
Of course, a Captain Marvel script does not equal a Captain Marvel film. Getting blockbuster films to the big screen is always a tricky proposition, given the money that needs to be put on the line. But film studios are far more reluctant to put that cash down on female-led films than on any number of obscure male heroes. DC turned down a Whedon-helmed Wonder Woman movie but went forward with the less-well-known (but male) Green Lantern. What made them think that Hal Jordan would be a more viable prospect than the Amazing Amazon? Gender.
Because female leads are box office poison. Everyone knows that. Except, of course, it’s a load of bollocks. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons superheroine films don’t get made, shall we?
4. Female-Led Films Don’t Make Money
The Hunger Games was the third biggest-grossing movie of 2012, beaten only by The Avengers and The Dark Knight. In other words, Katniss Everdeen made more money last year than James Bond. (Bella Swan and Princess Merida didn’t do too badly either.)
3. Female Superhero Movies
Bomb At The Box Office
It’s hard to argue against this one, seeing as of the three films about comic book ladies (Supergirl, Elekra and Catwoman) failed to set the film world alight. Elektra, in fact, was the only one not to lose money. However, they all grossed more than the various Punisher movies.
And remember, not all of the male heroes got things right the first time. The 90′s produced Captain America and Fantastic Four films that spectacularly fell on their arses, and Nick Fury wasn’t exactly box office gold before Samuel L Jackson took on the role. That didn’t stop Hollywood from making superhero movies. So why should three bad superheroine movies be enough to condemn the genre?
It’s also, of course, worth noting that these three films were all dreadful. Terrible films tend to bomb at the box office regardless of what gender the lead is.
There aren’t any female heroes well-known enough to sell a film.
Um, Wonder Woman?
And, let’s be honest, it’s not like a single non-geek had a clue who Iron Man was before that film came out, and it didn’t harm his box office.
2. There Aren’t Any Actresses That
Can Play These Roles
This is an actual reason Joe Quesada gave for why Carol Danvers hadn’t yet been brought to the screen.
Yeah, because Robert Downey Jnr was a known action movie star when he took the Iron Man role. And Chris Hemsworth and Henry Caville are so famous.
When talking about female heroes, discussion always seems to turn to whether or not the potential actresses are ‘tough’ or ‘big’ enough for the role, and yet no-one cares that Downey Jnr is a short-arse who ain’t getting any younger. Chris Hemsworth wasn’t born with those guns, you know. Actresses can hit the gym as well as actors can, and both Scarlett Johansson and Anne Hathaway totally convinced as 2012’s bad-ass ladies without having action movie pedigrees behind them.
And as for whether any actresses are famous enough for the part – Iron Man and Thor both boasted love interests who were more famous than the leading men.
1. Only Boys Read Comics,
And They Don’t Like Female Superheroes
Have you been on Tumblr lately? Girls read comics.
You’re doing a disservice to male fans if you think they’ll only like male characters. Name me a single bloke who doesn’t think Ripley is just as rock hard as John McClane.
The biggest-selling comics in April were basically Batman, Justice League, the latest big Marvel events and The Walking Dead. The only comics in the list that aren’t centred on characters who have had movies or a TV series based on them were Guardians of the Galaxy (who have a film on the horizon) and Jupiter’s Legacy, the latest Mark Millar comic. So, these days comic successes aren’t dependent on gender – they’re dependent on whether the character’s been in a film. If Carol Danvers was put into a (good) film, you could expect her comic sales to bump up.So, I think we’ve pretty much got rid of all those excuses. So come on, Hollywood – how many more excuses are you going to pull out of your backside before you just bring some superheroines to the big screen?