Charlie’s Angels director Elizabeth Banks is facing a social media backlash from comments she made about moviegoing audiences’ predilections towards action blockbusters featuring women.
In an interview last week, she stated that “if this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies,” in response to the pre-emptive suggestion that the film was destined to bomb due to it being a female-led action pic. She also stated that the success of the likes of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel is down to comic book films being a “male genre” and that “even though those are movies about women, they put them in the context of feeding the larger comic book world.”
The comments are now being brought up due to the box office of Charlie’s Angels’ opening weekend falling short of projections, placing it third behind Ford V Ferrari and The Good Liar, with many already declaring the film a flop despite it not having even been out a week and there being multiple territories where it hasn’t even opened yet.
However, much of the vehement discourse surrounds the out of context statement of men’s attitudes towards female-led action movies, which taken in isolation appears as a sweeping generalization and against which people are reacting. And as seen down below via the sampling of Tweets we’ve collected, folks aren’t too happy about what Banks said.
@ElizabethBanks I know misogyny and sexism runs rampant in Hollywood, but Charlie's Angles' lack of success isn't do to either… In 2017 the top 3 grossing films of the year were female lead films. Charlie's Angles isn't doing well in the box office because it's a shitty movie
— Stephen Cann (@StephenCann1) November 20, 2019
And lack of marketing. It's the first time I heard about another Charlie's Angeles movie
— ₐₙdᵢₑGₘz₄₁₆ ???? (@andygmz416) November 20, 2019
Women didn’t go see Charlie’s Angels and they are half of the population but keep attacking men. I will not see Elizabeth Banks movies in theatre ever again. Your marketing sucked. Your intended audience didn’t go to your movie. Blame men though.
— The Birdman (@BirdmanBrrr) November 20, 2019
@ElizabethBanks Is my girlfriend not allowed to enjoy comic book movies the way she does? And if comic book movies are a “male genre”, what are action movies? Is that fair to men to say something is a “male genre”? Can men watch romantic comedies? Could it be your movie is bad?
— Brett L. Hoyle (@BLHoyle7) November 20, 2019
I can't believe @ElizabethBanks would stoop to this level… yet. I mean she's still hot. Usually, #Hollywood actresses wait until after they can't use their sex appeal to star in a movie anymore before they start complaining about #sexism. #AlyssaMilanohttps://t.co/pszedb9RrF
— Chris Arrr (@capitalistpeeg) November 20, 2019
*Charlie’s Angels flops at the box office*
Elizabeth Banks: “It’s because of those damn men” pic.twitter.com/EKDCfrYLJb
— Badger 2 (@NotCyclic) November 20, 2019
Remember when #ElizabethBanks was fun?
— Conservative Whovian (@BbcWoke) November 20, 2019
Somebody please explain to Elizabeth Banks to just accept that she made a movie no one wanted to see and move on with her life.
— Monty (@CMontyBAwesome) November 20, 2019
Honestly curious if @ElizabethBanks realizes that her remarks further the stereotype that women can't be #geeks. I can't tell you the number of WOMEN who went to see #WonderWoman and left feeling empowered and encouraged. https://t.co/P1RfQKciDz
— Dallas (@sirxroam) November 20, 2019
People didn't show up because they preached about strong female characters and had an agenda driven film. when I watched Ellen Ripely kickass decades ago I didn't care if she was a strong female, gay or straight, black or white, or an alien. I only cared if it was a good story.
— Pat Fitzsimmons (@PatFitzsimmon14) November 20, 2019
— Shane Shawn (@ShaneShawn7) November 20, 2019
Easy to be proud of a flop when you get paid lots of money for making it and its not you losing the money.
— Pat Fitzsimmons (@PatFitzsimmon14) November 20, 2019
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Of course, the stereotype Banks mentions is real and only slowly being overcome (despite people’s enthusiasm, how long has it taken us to get a Black Widow movie?). In the early-to-mid ‘00s when comic book films were starting to become big business, the quickly successive failures of Catwoman and Elektra (and, to a lesser extent, Aeon Flux), resulted in an overriding industry presumption that audiences were uninterested in action pics led by women, blithely overlooking the fact that the reason they bombed was because they were simply really, really bad movies.
While Banks’ comments may not be entirely accurate, neither are they entirely without merit. The litany of misogynists who claim it offensively unrealistic to depict a woman in a position of physical strength and capability, most – if not all – of whom will have never actually seen a woman fight, can be predictably relied upon to wheel out the same half-dozen trite misogynistic comments with each new announcement.
If anything can be blamed for Charlie’s Angels not living up to immediate expectations, it should be the marketing that failed to highlight what was new about the film and instead made it appear to be another cynical cash grab in a world where audiences are becoming more than a little fatigued over endless sequels and reboots. One person unmindful of the negativity though is Banks herself, who remains proud of the movie despite the reception it’s received.