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Warner Bros., owner of Wonder Woman, had a very good weekend at the box office in case you’re just catching up. Gravity, it’s Sandra Bullock led space action/thriller/suspense movie (and I’ll get back to THAT in a minute) brought in $55M about $20M over the early expectations. And in doing so It broke the box office record for October. It also beat a movie starring now one but two dudes (including the newest Batman, Ben Affleck, which must be the fart in the room of flowers at WB this morning.)
Sandra Bullock was a Wonder Woman
for WB’s box office this weekend
I saw it Gravity and really enjoyed it. But as much as the 90 or so minutes I spent in the theater, I’m enjoying the fact the movie did so well. Let me recap what I spent time on Twitter and i09 saying yesterday.
Female lead (over 40), box office record, surpassed expections by $20M, 54% male/46% female audience but remember Hollywood thinks women can’t open action movies and women don’t like action movies.
Pretty simple, eh? Of course not!
Of course not!I heard “it’s not an action movie … it’s a “suspense” movie! Or it’s a “thriller.” Whatever. I also heard that this wasn’t a surprise, that Sandra Bullock is a proven box office star. Which is true and I might add that every movie she’s done in the patst 5 years that was a mega hit “exceeded expectations” or was a “suprise.” Go search the predictions for The Heat and The Blindside and the word “exceeds expectations.” (It’s even a sweeter victory given Sandra Bullock is several years past the traditional “expired” age for women in Hollywood and won the role after Jolie, Portman and Johansson were once attached.
In fact go and search just about any female led film or film led by people of color that turns into a hit and you’ll find the same words. Hollywood is constantly SHOCKED when movies that aren’t white meat sausage fests are hits.
The new head of Warner Bros. Kevin Tsujihara was out talking about movie strategy last week and called Gravity “risky” - I don’t have the context but I wonder if that movie would have been called “risky” if Affleck and Clooney had co-starred. I hope not.
But more importantly, Tsujihara was also out talking about Wonder Woman. And here’s what he said:
While that’s far fewer words than other WB executives have said about Wonder Woman in the last few years (on the record …) it’s encouraging. The word “must” clearly points to urgency. Some of that I can’t help but suspect is being driven by the recent spat of “Why doesn’t Wonder Woman have a movie” stories which have appeared far more regularly and in many outlets outside the comic beltway for the past few months. Here’s Good Morning America, for example. Much of that was driven by the concept short that was released last Monday that now has over 4M views on YouTube.
I also liked that I didn’t hear the same old message points from Tsujihara that have floated out of WB recently when the character is identified as a “priority” such as "tricky" and "difficult to crack."
Another reason that I’m more positive with Tsujihara is because his ascendancy to the top position at Warner Bros. pushed out Jeff Robinov who had serious cooties issues when it came to women and film.
Now, what Tsujihara said isn’t all great. I would have much preferred the “or television” be “and television.” Why not both?
Tsujihara also said the focus on Batman and Superman for its movies has been a “missed opportunity.” (I’m sure Green Lantern is now “the movie whose name must not be spoken” over WB these days.)
So today we have a big hit action/thriller/sci-fi/whatever makes you happy movie for Warner Bros. starring a woman and a studio chief who says they must make a Wonder Woman film.
That’s a good place to be.
And for anyone who wants to mix the two together … don’t bother … been there, done that.