Some years ago I happened to be at a ‘Hollywood party’ and found myself standing next to a mini-major studio head and his distribution guy. The conversation turned to women in the movies and the studio head declared, without much hesitation, that “Women don’t open movies.” Turning to the distribution guy he asked “Am I right?” The other nodded enthusiastically.
I got tongue tied. He can’t be serious… Really? In the 21st century we still have sayings like that? But I couldn’t think of a hit starring a woman! Finally it came to me; “Erin Brockovitch” I mumbled.
“Lara Croft 1 and 2”?
Barely made any money. The second made even less.
That was in the days before “Sex and the City” which was made for $65M and grossed $415M worldwide, and before “The Hunger Games” which was made for $78M and grossed $691M, or “Twilight” which was made for $37M and grossed $393M. They don’t think like that anymore, right?
“All those were hits in other mediums first,” said the experts. Women still can’t open movies in a big way.
Then came “Bridesmaids” $32.5M production budget and gross of $288M.
Now are you convinced? Original material! Women can be funny! Women can open movies!
Apparently not yet.
The estimate for “The Heat” by its own distributing studio was about $20M for the first weekend. It made double. $40M. And it has already recouped its production budget in the few days since.
Women can’t open movies my foot!
What are you going to say now? Another fluke?