Charlie’s Angels is officially a box office bomb. The latest revival of the 1976 TV show opened to a disastrous $8.6 million domestically and squeaked to just $19.3 million in international markets. Set against a budget of around $50-$55 million (plus promotional costs), this will surely disappoint the studio and likely put the franchise on ice for the foreseeable future.
So why did Charlie’s Angels flop so badly? Well, it received mediocre reviews, is certified Rotten on the Tomatometer, wasn’t marketed particularly well and perhaps audiences in 2019 just aren’t enthused by the franchise anymore. But director Elizabeth Banks has a different theory.
In an interview with the Herald Sun, she said:
“Look, people have to buy tickets to this movie, too. This movie has to make money. If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.
They’ll go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre. So even though those are movies about women, they put them in the context of feeding the larger comic book world, so it’s all about, yes, you’re watching a Wonder Woman movie but we’re setting up three other characters or we’re setting up ‘Justice League.’
“By the way, I’m happy for those characters to have box office success but we need more women’s voices supported with money because that’s the power. The power is in the money.”
I don’t necessarily disagree with her overall point, but saying a movie deserves to succeed simply because it’s a female-led blockbuster action flick rather than because of its actual merits is getting it backwards. A similar thing happened with the pretty terrible Ghostbusters reboot, which also flopped. These films aren’t failing because they feature women in lead roles, they’re failing because they’re not very good.
To be fair to Banks, she does acknowledge the wild box office and critical success of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, but going on to write comic book movies off as a ‘male genre’ is kinda awful in 2019. There are millions upon millions of women that enjoy superhero movies and there are two female-fronted and directed superhero films coming out in the next six months in Black Widow and Birds of Prey. Perhaps she should wait to see how those do at the box office before arguing that “men don’t go see women do action movies.”
Honestly, this sounds like classic sour grapes to me. Maybe just make a better film next time and people might show up to see it?