In the past couple of weeks, Wonder Woman has been proving all those who thought the movie would flop wrong. It’s broken records, bought in new audiences, made headlines and raked in the cash. But Wonder Woman is more than just a successful movie- it could mark a huge turning point in pop culture and cinema. Some have even speculated that it could incite a huge cultural shift. But what are the specific changes the Wonder Woman could bring about in the movie industry and in general nerd culture? What is it that makes Wonder Woman so special? This list will take through all the different ways Wonder Woman is already shaking up the movies and the ways it could continue to shake them up. So buckle in and let’s see what a wonder one movie can be!Here are 6 Ways Wonder Woman is Changing the Movie Industry:
Wonder Woman proves female superhero movies can sell
After the disasters of movies like Catwoman, Elektra and the 1984 Supergirl, there was a lot of talk among both critics and the bigwigs of Hollywood that it was impossible to make a female superhero movie. Many stated that female superheroes didn’t sell.
But Wonder Woman has proven what fans of female superheroes and fans of basic logic already knew- there can be good, successful female superhero movies. All that’s required is for the studio and the creative team to treat the movies with something approaching the basic respect and care they treat male superhero properties with.
Catwoman, Elektra and Supergirl didn’t sell because they were bad movies. They were thin on character, bizarrely unfaithful to the source material and often pretty sexist as well. Wonder Woman, in contrast, was carefully crafted and considered, given a decent budget and had a nice creative effort behind it, so it succeeded.
The fact it’s taken this long to have a good female superhero movie was mostly down to Hollywood’s reluctance to do one in the first place. This is demonstrated by the fact that before Wonder Woman, there were maybe three female superhero movies in the last forty years. When male superhero movies flopped, no one threw up their hands and said “we can’t make superhero movies with men anymore”. They never blamed it on gender. They simply learned from their mistakes and gave it another shot. Female superheroes were not given the same amount of chances.
But now with Wonder Woman’s success may be the wake-up call executives need. It forces them to acknowledge the problem with previous movies was lack of care rather than a woman lead. With this obvious fact proven, maybe female superhero movies will be given the chances they deserve. Maybe Wonder Woman really can change their minds…and change the world.Advertisement
Wonder Woman proves female directors have what it takes to do blockbusters
Wonder Woman made history by breaking the record for highest-grossing opening weekend for a movie directed by a woman. The record was previously held by Sam Taylor-Johnson on Fifty Shades of Grey, which earned $85 million dollars. Wonder Woman earned $100.5 million dollars. Its opening weekend outpaced the first Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Not only that, but it had a very small drop in audience numbers for the second weekend thanks to stellar reviews and good word of mouth. We actually have to go all the way back to the first Spider-Man to find a superhero movie that had less of a drop in second-weekend sales.
So Wonder Woman definitively proves that a woman can direct a successful blockbuster superhero movie. This should be obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to the top brass. Female directors are granted very few opportunities in Hollywood. While their male counterparts are given second and third chances when their blockbuster movies flop, women don’t get the same. Their entire gender gets judged by one person's screw-up. Before Wonder Woman came out there was a lot of speculation that if it flopped, it would be a huge blow to the chances for female directors everywhere. There’s speculation this huge amount of pressure is why the original director, Michelle MacLaren, left.
Proof of the double standards female directors face can be seen in news articles that described Parry Jenkins as a “gamble” for DC because she hadn’t made a blockbuster before. Yet this is true of many men who are bought in to make blockbusters and they aren’t called gambles- what’s more, Jenkins had an Oscar under her belt before Wonder Woman, giving her way more cred than many of her blockbuster newbie male counterparts.
DC made a great pick with Jenkins and they made it because they were specifically looking to give a female director a rare chance. Jenkins’ success is now putting the pressure on Hollywood to give female directors the same opportunities male directors are given. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more talented women rising to the top as a result.
Wonder Woman proves sex isn't needed to sell
Many times female leads in movies are fetishized and sexualized to an absurd degree and the excuse is given that this is because “sex sells” (and by “sex” they always mean “sexy ladies”). Yet when comparing Wonder Woman to other female superhero movies, the opposite seems to be true. Both Elektra and Catwoman are noted for being extremely sexed-up. The ludicrous barely-there bondage-like outfit Halle Berry was made to wear as Catwoman is infamous. Elektra similarly milked Jennifer Garner’s sex appeal for all it was worth. Yet they both still flopped.
In contrast, while Diana’s outfit shows some skin, the character isn’t very sexualized in the movie. The camera doesn’t ogle her at any point. She’s never made to flounce around or pose seductively or put in a compromising position. We see way more of Steve Trevor’s naked body than we see of hers. And the movie was a success. In fact, the movie’s refusal to objectify Diana may be why it pulled in more of a female audience than most superhero movies.
Comparing Wonder Woman to the failure of other female superhero flicks shows that movies are better off giving their female leads strong stories and characterization than relying on sex appeal. Maybe Hollywood will take the hint.
Wonder Woman helps prove diversity is bankable
An article on Voxmakes an interesting link between the success of Wonder Woman, Get Out and Hidden Figures. The success of these films proves audiences aren’t repelled by diversity the way Hollywood and the media thinks they are. Execs and media moguls alike were stunned at the success of Hidden Figures because it was about black women. Then they were stunned by the success of Get Out because it was about black people and directed by a black man. Now they’re stunned at the success of Wonder Woman because it’s by a woman and about a woman. When are they going to stop being surprised?
Of course, these movies are all high quality stories, hence their success. But Hollywood doesn’t bank on quality, Hollywood banks on consumer trends. Hollywood loves finding commonalities between successful movies and the commonality between a lot of successful movies lately is diversity. This could be the motivation the movie industry needs to tell a wider range of stories with a wider pool of talent.
Wonder Woman could be a turning point for the DC Extended Universe
The DC Extended Universe hasn’t been the flop its most virulent haters make it out to be- all the movies have done reasonably well. However, they’ve mostly performed below high studio expectations. They’ve also struggled with critics and negative word of mouth, leading to audiences numbers dropping off after the first few weekends.
But Wonder Woman is different. It performed better than expected- or at least just as well as expected. Also, critics loved it, it has good word of mouth and as previously noted, the audience is sticking around in a way that even current Marvel movies can’t manage.
It also shows DC is developing a range of directorial talent beyond Zack Snyder and that they’re making movies with varying tones rather than sticking to a single style.
Wonder Woman could well be the light of hope for the DCEU. It could mark DC emerging as a real and fierce competitor for Marvel. And that happening would shake up the movie industry quite a bit.
Wonder Woman shows MRA outrage doesn’t have to sink a female-led movie
An article on The Verge had an interesting take on the men’s rights outrage over the women-only screenings the Alamo Drafthouse hosted for Wonder Woman. They noted that the Drafthouse did a lot by refusing to take the complaints of the MRA folk seriously. The representatives of the drafthouse simply laughed the outrage off rather than pleading with the internet denizens to forgive them. And the women-only showings ended up quickly selling out due to the extra attention all the MRA outrage gained them. The theatre refused to feed the trolls and instead the trolls fed the theatre’s success.
This a sharp contrast to previous conflicts between MRA-types and female-focused movies. The (very small and unsuccessful) boycott of Fury Road made headlines and was treated seriously. And the outrage against the female-led Ghostbusters may have damaged movie sales. In those cases, the rabble-rousers were engaged with by defenders of the movies, who earnestly tried to plead with them. Spoiler alert, it didn’t work.
But now these guys are being shrugged off as a vocal minority. Those who are part of the theatre and movie industry aren’t bothering to beg for mercy. They’re just laughing. And as a result, all the trolling is doing is attracting attention and causing success. The whole incident with Wonder Woman and the Alamo Drafthouse may mark a turn in online discourse. Those angry MRA folk of the internet are no longer being treated as a real threat.