Well if you needed proof that the movie industry is still, after all these years, just a giant boys club and that women aren’t fairly represented in Hollywood, look no further than this next story. Shockwaves were sent around the web this week after the public caught wind of a boneheaded and rather sexist new policy being implemented by Warner Brothers execs. According to Deadline Hollywood, WB President of Production Jeff Robinov has decided that they will no longer greenlight any movies with female lead characters, as a response to the failure of such recent films as The Invasion, The Reaping and The Brave One. Because, as we all know, those movies failed to generate box office dollars solely because audiences can’t relate to women in lead roles… right? Come on, that’s just about as stupid as if they had decided to put a ban on all movies that start with “The”.
A lot of people around the web are outraged and are calling for an boycott of Warner Brothers films. While I can understand this kind of reaction to the news, I don’t really think it will change anything. Once another studio finds a big hit with a female in the lead, they will drop this inane policy and try to jump right back on the bandwagon. The real problem is that these bean counters at various studios are constantly trying to map out trends and find impossible explanations for the behaviour of moviegoers… as if such a thing were really possible. They have to find somewhere to place the blame when a movie fails. But anyone with any common sense knows that there are a huge number of factors that go into the success of a movie, and that it’s not something that can be broken down into a simple formula. Each of the films mentioned above had plenty of other problems whether it be poor marketing, extensive reshoots, or just plain bad filmmaking. The thing is, as much as the majority of movies are made by men and for men, there are still a ton of women out there who love to go to the movies. Maybe they should be asking women what they want to see on the screen instead of telling them? Either way, if the people at Warner Brothers are smart, they’ll back down from this policy and issue a public apology fairly soon, because they’ve got a lot of people around the web worked up and ready to feel heroic by avoiding their movies at all costs.