I am seriously sad.
Whip-It didn’t do well at the box office this weekend. The chatter has started about how the future of young women’s movies.
Here’s what Cinetic Media’s Matt Dentler asks on Twitter: “After the very poor starts for Whip It, Jennifer’s Body, and Bright Star, what does that mean for the future of young women’s movies?” (h/t Thompson on Hollywood)
So now we won’t have movies about older women and we won’t have movies about younger women. Great.
But let’s be real. While I might put Whip-It and Jennifer’s Body in the same category, I wouldn’t put Bright Star in there. First, because it’s a smaller movie not released by a big studio and secondly, because even though Fanny drives the story at times, this film is an artistic triumph and draws a very different type of audience than both Whip-It and Jennifer’s Body. I really don’t want these trend stories to start happening especially when we have An Education opening this weekend and Precious coming soon. Both those films (as well as Bright Star) are Oscar contenders and need to get some sort of box office traction is order to have legs for awards season.
The bigger story to me, which I find disturbing, is that all three of this so-called underperforming films (and keep in mind their budgets were very low so they will probably make money) are directed by women.
I hear from people that they want to see Bright Star. I hear from people that they are going to see Whip-It. Maybe because we are out of summer they will have time to develop some word of mouth. One can only hope. BTW, Julie & Julia has quietly amassed almost $100 million at the box office, it is still playing in places and has been open since August 7th.
Here’s some more box office info:
Box Office Mojo: According to distributor 20th Century Fox, the audience was 70 percent female and 52 percent 25 years and older.
From Thompson on Hollywood: “Women aren’t showing up,” said one studio marketing exec. “Girls don’t get into roller derby.” Searchlight downplayed that aspect in favor of the movie’s girl power theme.
More thoughts: What I find interesting about the numbers is not the 70% women, it is the 52% over 25. (I really wish they broke down those numbers better for us in the public) What this says to me is that they didn’t figure out how to get the young girls who live the “girl power” lives. Maybe they couldn’t get their guy friends/boy friends to go, so they just acquiesced and went to see Zombieland. Maybe the girl power message is a turn off to guys? Maybe some of it is about how women’s sports is treated in the culture?
So the people were adult women, ones who are comfortable saying I want to see women onscreen. This shouldn’t be news. We know that women over 25 go to see movies starring women, it’s just that not enough of them come out on opening weekends to make a dent in the box office except on the rare occasion.