Why This New 'Wonder Woman' Milestone Should Be A Wake-Up Call To Hollywood
Diana Prince is smashing box office records. Entertainment Weekly reported Wonder Woman is the highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman. To date, Patty Jenkins' superhero film has made $318 million at the U.S. box office, and $635 million worldwide, making it one of the certified hits of the summer. Instead of being shocked by just how well the film is doing, Hollywood needs to see Wonder Woman's success as a wake-up call.
While the movie's critical and financial success is a win for women, it's also just a win, period. Wonder Woman has already out-earned Man of Steel, and the film is on track to take down other DC heavyweights like Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's also surpassed Iron Man's global box office total of $585 million. According to Box Office Mojo, Wonder Woman is the third highest grossing film of 2017 so far, behind only Beauty and the Beast, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.
Instead of regarding Jenkins and the film's success as an anomaly, it's time for Hollywood to recognize that men and women will show up for a film that's good. Having a woman at the helm and at the center of the story isn't the equivalent of throwing Kryptonite at Superman. It's no accident that the top three films of the year so far all have major crossover appeal.
Audiences have been showing up for female-led stories for quite some time now. From comedies like Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids to the aforementioned Beauty and the Beast, and the latest Star Wars films, women are making a splash across genres both in front of and behind the camera. It's not shocking or surprising that Wonder Woman is resonating with fans. What is surprising is how precious few films made by or for women are served up each year.
Prior to Wonder Woman, the superhero genre was almost exclusively dominated by men. It seemed Hollywood saw the failure of Elektra, and Catwoman as an indication that there was no appetite for female superhero movies. The truth was those movies were just bad, and it had nothing to do with them being about women. Besides, it's not like Marvel gave up on making superhero movies about men after Daredevil or The Hulk, neither of which are remembered fondly by most fans. As it stands, Marvel won't properly get into the female superhero game until 2019 with the release of Captain Marvel. That's an awfully long time to ignore a back catalog brimming with fascinating female heroes who could be making the studio major money on the big screen.
Jenkins success deserves to be celebrated every bit as much as Gal Gadot's performance, it's just a shame that it took Hollywood until 2017 to deliver a superhero movie that made female voices a priority. Wonder Woman has made history, but let's hope her record is broken soon because it's well past time for studios to realize female stories are every bit as valuable as male stories. Audiences have proven there's a demand for them, now all Hollywood needs to do is meet it.