Catching Fire is cleaning up at the box office: with the biggest November movie release, like, ever, the second installment in the Hunger Games franchise became the fourth biggest release of all time, and the biggest starring a woman. Looks like preconceived notions about female-dominated superheroes are the ones burning up...
Okay, bad fire puns aside: hopefully the success of Katniss Everdeen as a hero will mean, finally, the proliferation of long-overdue superhero movies with female leads. It's preposterous enough that there isn't already a Wonder Woman film, and it's time to stop offering up financial excuses, lamely claiming that movies with female leads won't make money. Because Jennifer Lawrence just made the Hunger Games franchise a truckload of cash. There has also been the longstanding idea that men don't want to see movies with female leads — but Catching Fire's audience was split almost exactly down the middle with male and female viewers, with 51 percent men.
On the Comicbook.com blog, Russ Berlingame notes: "The Hunger Games franchise may not only guide Lionsgate into what kind of films they want to make in the future, but also be informative for both Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. as they inch toward making a female-centric superhero film."
Even though we want more female heroes for other reasons than just for movie houses to rake in cash, we'll take what we can get. In a post on Forbes.com earlier this year, Melissa Silverstein posited:
We seem to have Wonder Woman paralysis. Part of the problem is that Hollywood has a terrible track record with women super heroines. They studios all remember Catwoman and Elektra and the memory is not pleasant. Those movies are long in our rear view mirror yet their negative legacy is a constant reminder that female superhero movies have not been successful. So that means that female super heroines have been relegated to the sidelines as this genre gets bigger and bigger and more important to Hollywood bottom line.
Catching Fire has done damage to the legacy of bad movies about female heroes. No more excuses, Hollywood! And with next year's post-apocalyptic Divergent poised to be a huge success, hopefully movie studios will finally let go of their outdated beliefs that strong female leads just don't sell. As Missy Elliot would say, "Girls, girls get that cash."