So Jennifer’s Body tanked at the box office. From what I can tell the word of mouth among women is way better than the word of mouth among men. Vic Holtreman at Screen Rant took a unscientific look at the breakdown of the what reviewer thought and found that women liked the film much better than men.
There were many more reviews by men (77) than women (26). The majority of these were culled from the Rotten Tomatoes site, and I included a few (from both sides) from reviewers I know who are not part of the R/T scoring system.
Here’s the breakdown:
Male movie reviewers: 39% liked it, 61% disliked it. Female movie reviewers: 54% liked it, 46% disliked it.
Maybe women — especially young women — will find this film in the coming weeks but most probably it will become one of those movies that becomes a hit when everyone has it at home.
Why did the movie do poorly? Who knows? Everyone is speculating and you can read the wrap up from Spout Blog here. I think that the studio was afraid that if they played up the feminist/girl power angle they would turn off all the first weekend boys who they were trying to get into the theatre to see Megan Fox because they were titillated with a same sex kiss. I guess that the fan boys were not interested in Megan Fox. Do we really believe they went to see Transformers for her? They really don’t seem interested in movies that are women centric at all. I remember before Twilight opened it was the women who were excited, the guys indifferent.
The press on Diablo Cody, Karyn Kusama and especially Megan Fox has been pretty negative even from some feminists. I’m not saying feminists all need to march to the same drummer, and I know Fox flaunts her looks and has created a persona that can be a big turn off to feminists, but they need to be appreciated by feminists because they are all outspoken women in Hollywood and that rankles feathers.
When women tank at the box office they suffer way more than men. Fox is already being written off, people are happy that Diablo got put in her place (even though Toni Colette won a best actress Emmy for her show The United States of Tara) and Kusama one of the only women who directs action films will have a harder time getting her next gig made.
Yet Brandon Camp who co-wrote and directed Love Happens which also tanked last weekend is not receiving the same post-mortem as Jennifer’s Body. (According to imdb we has both writing and directing projects in the pipeline.) I have seen both films and Love Happens was one of the worst films I’ve seen in a while. The bottom line to me is that studios that are making movies about women and girls need to figure out a way to step up and market to them and get them into the theatres. We buy tickets and if we are excited and engaged we will go and see it. If you are afraid and mix the message then you turn off the men and the women.
Here is one of the best takes I have read on the film from ScarletScribe aka Genevieve:
And why don’t they understand the film? Because it’s one of the very few honest-to-goodness feminist films out there — and more so then being feminist, it’s one of the few films that views things from a female lens…For once we have a story with female main characters who aren’t obsessing about, fighting over, or bitching about boys every five minutes. Jennifer’s Body is about women and how they relate to each other, the horror moments are there for style and allegory, but at its heart the movie is about two girls whose own toxic friendship is eating them both alive.
In recounting this tale, Jennifer’s Body is packed with humor, one-liners, great moments of cheesy horror, and some poignant moments between Needy and Jennifer that will resonate with the female audience more than males. And that’s the problem.
Actually, no, that’s not the problem. That’s what makes the movie so great. The problem is that many audience members refuse to try to understand Jennifer’s Body and are subsequently calling it a failure because of that. For decades women have lived in a male-dominated world of cinema and have had to take things at face value but, thankfully, have found their understanding of men the better for it. How many male-bonding movies and buddy-comedies haven’t we watched with silent nods of “Oh, so that’s how guys interact when we’re not around. Good to know and I’m happy for that peek into something I normally wouldn’t see.”
Here are some other worthy links on the topic:
Rallying the Troops for ‘Jennifer’s Body‘ (Cinematical)
Jennifer’s Body and the Feminists who Hate It (Girl Drive)