Marvel CEO lists Elektra, Catwoman and Supergirl as the three reasons that superhero movies with female lead always flop. After reading the e-mail I decided to go on a hunch and double check who the directors of each movie was:
- Elektra - Rob Bowman
- Catwoman - Pitof
- Supergirl - Jeannot Swarc
Next hunch was to check who wrote these movies:
- Elektra - Mark Steven Johnson (motion picture characters), Frank Miller (comic book characters), Zak Penn, Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner
- Catwoman - Bob Kane (characters), Theresa Rebeck (story), John D. Brancato (story/screenplay), Michael Ferris (story/screenplay) and John Rogers (screenplay)
- Supergirl - David Odell (screenplay), Otto Binder (character: Supergirl (uncredited)) and Al Plastino (character: Supergirl (uncredited))
By now you probably noticed the same thing as I did. Among the 16 people listed above one is a woman. The problem with men writing about a woman and directing a female centred movie is that it will inevitably have the male gaze. Take the difference to for example The Hunger Games that did well at the box office (female hero btw) which is directed by a man and have two male screenplay writers BUT it is based on a novel by a woman who also adapted the book to movie.
Bring in women in the production of a female centred movie and I am sure it will do better. Why? Because there will be more to the character than her being eye candy in a tight bodysuit.
I even have two real life cases that really hit the nail on the head:
- Brenda Chapman who was the director behind Brave (and also wrote the story) was replaced as director in favour of Mark Andrews. She told Fortune about her struggles: “being the only woman in the room trying to explain my characters’ point
of view of the mother and daughter and why they’re both sympathetic and
they’re both not sympathetic.“
- A post from Shit People Say to Women Directors, I quote part of it: "I’ve been getting sent lots of “woman empowering,” “feminist” scripts lately… by all male creative teams. It seems to be the new trend. However, as great as that sounds at first, the problem is these people are still not getting it — they’re taking supporting roles and making them the main characters with all the same things happening to them; skimpy wardrobes, nudity, rape, ridiculous dialogue. Women still aren’t allowed to be strong regular people without being patriarchy’s version of a woman". You can read the full post here.
We will see what the future stores for us in the super heroine category, I just hope it will be something good, something I will love. Despite above I am hopeful.