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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Before Box Office Sunday

Lately, the box office conversation has become more and more about rationalizing the numbers.

Are the Pitch Perfect 2 numbers a bit surprising? Yes. Are they really shocking, given a trajectory that we have seen before? No. Does it make the case for female directors? No. But it shouldn’t have to, which is the great Catch-22. Arguments are made about “women’s films” not doing as much business as “guy’s films” and that premise is both true and false.

The world market follows the boy cinema model commercially. If you want to be in the $700 million and up category and aren’t doing a variation on Disney Princess, your product is going to skew butch. Just is. Sorry.

But one of the current Hollywood myths is that this group of films, which dominate the noise, is all Hollywood does or wants to do. Just not true. And “smaller” films – $20m – $40m – are still a key part of most studios and can be massively profitable.

In the case of the moment, Pitch Perfect, Elizabeth Banks drove that train the first time as she has the second time. People are obsessing on female directors right now, so that is what people are taking about. But there would be no Pitch Perfect 2 for Ms. Banks to direct and to open so well without Ms. Banks killing herself to get PP made in the first place as a producer.

This is the problem with the victim conversation. It gets myopic in a hurry. The outcome for both films has been exceptional. Female produced movies are as important as directed ones and ones starring female actresses and supported by female actresses. But there is a strange hierarchy that develops around anger and aspiration that makes it all a blur of headlines. In order to build a better future for Hollywood, we have to start celebrating the wins as well as complaining about the inequities.

Flipping over to Mad Max: Fury Road… do people realize that the last Mad Max movie was, literally, 30 years ago?  Did WB, which sold it as a sequel more than as an original, realize this… or did they get caught in much the same mistake that doomed Edge of Tomorrow last year around this time?

Mind you, if Max got to a $55.3m opening, that would still be Top Ten for R-rated openings in history… which is only a shocking failure to a fool. Sixteen R-rated movies have opened to $50m or more in history.

But bigger picture, the two films were in direct competition, but only in so much as young people were anxious to see either or both. The market is a lot bigger than a combined $120 million (or whatever it will be) for the duo.

All the rationalization and guesses can be put aside. The bottom line is, “Did people feel compelled to see this on opening weekend?”  And you can throw out quality as an issue too. It means almost nothing on opening weekends.  People made their decisions, for the most part, a week or two ago (some longer, as in both cases this weekend).  But aside from the core, opening is about picking an audience and selling that audience. 99.999% of ticket buyers most opening weekends have not seen the movie before. All they can know is what they have been shown and how interested they are conceptually.

The media has created this win/lose thing about box office, assisted by bad manipulative choices by studios, that creates lies every weekend. The business is not just the Top Three. International means more than domestic in very roughly 80% of movies these days. Costs are a very important – and closely held – part of the picture.

If Pitch Perfect 2 gets to $400 million worldwide, it will still not be as profitable as Avengers: Age of Ultron. But it could well the second or third most profitable film of the summer… ironically, because it is so specific demographically.

This is when I start hearing pushback from those who want to say that “women’s films” is a ghetto and it’s terribly unfair. And I say, “Embrace the freaking ghetto!”  Summit is an imperfect company, but few were as smart as they were in cheaping out the Twilight movies from start to finish. (Yes, the budgets rose… but not exponentially as happens on many franchises.). They knew their sliver of the market and they owned it. They didn’t chase the bigger market. And they made a fortune.

This is also true of the Transformers franchise, which has grown in budget, but hasn’t gone insane.

The biggest niche in the world is cool. But so are the smaller ones. And there are fortunes to be made on women… on Black audiences… on Spanish-speaking Americans… on old people… etc.

None of what I am writing is a claim that there doesn’t need to be serious consideration to the numbers of high-ranking filmmakers that are female and/or of color. There is an institutional bias. It is real. It is baked in at this point. And it needs to be addressed. But let’s not always throw the baby out with the bath water. Judging success and failure in there’s areas by the hysteria of opening weekends and half-ass analyzing the Top 100 grossers each year is doomed to impotence as a strategy.

And before anyone Plessy v Fergusons my ass, sorry, but making movies is not analogous to schooling or voting rights or white and black bathrooms. If you think that, you have gotten caught in the web of your own rhetoric.

It is about opportunity. And in the film business, opportunity is a legitimate/equal chance at getting what you want to make financed and distributed. That does not mean that the bullshit argument of “there could be 15 well-budgeted indies for every Avengers they don’t make” a truth. It is a false notion.

I’m not saying we need Avengers to float everything else either. We don’t. Avengers is its own thing. It has nothing to do with whether a movie like Selma does $50m domestic or $150 million domestic. And it really has nothing to do with whether Ex Machina does $30 million or $15 million.

Meryl Streep, the patron saint of women and older actors, hasn’t stopped working for a second since Prada. She has made tiny indies and large wannabe franchise films. She draws a legitimate amount of interest to be a true movie star. There are male stars she is “worth” more than and others she is “worth” less than.

Jennifer Lawrence is, in my opinion, about as big a movie star as there is right now. If reports that she got $15 million for Joy are true, she probably got overpaid for a small film. If she got paid $15 million for any of the last 3 Hunger Games, she was wildly underpaid. It has nothing to do with male co-stars. Her perceived value is her perceived value. She should have banked at least $100 million of the Hunger Games‘ $3.5 billion theatrical haul. If she didn’t, blame her agent, not Hollywood sexism. It is the industry’s job to pay as little as possible for the most valuable talent and the agent’s job to shake the tree for every dime. Math has no sex or color.

Anyway… rant over for now.

For those of you who have lost yours, please get a grip. Take the measure of it all with severe, rigorous honesty. Celebrate Ava DuVernay as an incredible success story. Stop selling the myth of her film or career being victimized by The Man. Take the win. Be proud of it. Start pushing for the next one who is not as powerful and tough as Ava. Embrace talent not victimization… even when you are suffering victimization in many quarters. Punch out of the corner…. don’t look for some ref to save you… because they never do.

And slow down on all the box office pronouncements. The media is still unwilling to embrace what a good studio year 2014 was. Lots of wins. Few losses. Profits don’t come on a scale with overall box office. They come film by film, budget by budget. Same as it ever was.  We are all moving so fast to define everything these days, we lose track of this truth. But it is the truth. It has been the truth for 40+ years. And it will be the truth for decades to come.

79 Responses to “Before Box Office Sunday”

  1. LYT says:

    “The media has created this win/lose thing about box office, assisted by bad manipulative choices by studios, that creates lies every weekend.”

    Yes. The media.

    You’re not remotely part of that media that has emphasized box office over all else? What are 80% of the blog posts here about?

    As far as Pitch Perfect as a girl’s movie – it has a huge appeal to “sensitive” dudes who think women would dig them if they only realized their shared tastes in retro-music.

  2. J says:

    Only fools could get defensive about there being two successful options atop the box office. I’m a middle-aged white male who was strong-armed into seeing the first ‘Pitch Perfect’ and wound up happier for it; fun is a cure for all sorts of minor objections. Am looking forward to seeing both these sequels, am actively avoiding any pissing matches occurring online now.

  3. leahnz says:

    what the heck are you bloviating about DP, you sound ridiculous (and like you believe you have some actual knowledge about that which you presume to speak and dish out advice, please, just stop – your take on sexism in the industry is ignorant and patronising, embarrassing as usual. who do you think is listening to this, your advice about something you have no experience with or knowledge of, it’s kind of hilarious really (and sadly common).
    and really, this repetitive don’t-be-a-victim-ladies-embrace-your-niche nonsense can gerbil right up your bum, half the human race and human experience is female – as well as half of film-viewers and ticket buyers – so maybe when this is reflected in the film industry the chicas will shut up with the pesky big mouths and speaking out and making a fuss, but until then best get your earplugs in and asspad out, i suspect it’s gonna be long bumpy, noisy ride

  4. brack says:

    It’s not a male vs female struggle. It’s all about MONEY. How to make money from a movie, how to get it financed, how to market said product, etc. It’s capitalism that’s quite fair. We don’t need movies to survive. It’s entertainment, and we have the right to see or not to see them. And here’s another reality: most people couldn’t care less who makes a movie, and don’t know who did either. Is that right? Who’s to say, but it’s the truth. If most women don’t care about sexism in the film industry, why should anyone else?

  5. JS Partisan says:

    Leah is right on fucking point. Seriously. This is just nonsense on a grand level David, but it’s what you get from being older. You don’t see the shit that younger people are seeing, and the young people have had enough of this shit. They are sick and fucking tired of gender inequality and seeing as women are terribly important consumers to the movie industry. It would be in the best interest of the movie industry, to not piss off their audience with their constant, and quite epic, levels of bullshit.

    Brack, of course it’s not a male vs. female struggle, because the god damn men are rigging the fucking game. Guess who hates that shit… a lot? The female audience, who from young to old, seem to have an understanding about how they’ve been treated like shit, and continue to be treated like shit, and have had enough of being treated like shit.

    If you think a younger and more connected than ever audience, have no idea who are making these movies, then you are as out of touch as David is. You are even MORE FULL OF FUCKING SHIT THAN ANYONE WHO HAS EVER POSTED ON THIS BLOG, when you stated, “If most women don’t care about sexism in the film industry, why should anyone else?”

    If that isn’t some fucking rationalizing of shitty behavior, and it’s fucking stupid to boot. Women give a shit, and they are only going to continue to be righteously pissed about this.

  6. EtGuild2 says:

    Since a female-driven movie about acapella singers bowing with the 3rd largest opening ever for a live-action comedy (HANGOVER 2, AUSTIN POWERS 3) is only a “bit surprising,” I’m a bit surprised you’re not expecting a $100 million opening for TED 2.

  7. brack says:

    Who are these women who are so pissed off that you’re talking about? Are they representative of the three billion women of the world? Where’s your proof? Where are the studies that prove any of your nonsense that there is some sort of movement happening? Women have lots of choices to see movies made by women, for women, but guess what, most women don’t give a shit about those movies. You can’t make people care about stuff they don’t care about. It’s like complaining that there aren’t enough women’s sports, but do you know why that is? Because not enough women care about women’s sports. Sexist? You bet. But it’s the truth. Women would rather watch men play sports. And men make up a bigger audience than women when it comes to women’s sports. I’m sure you’ll come back with sports and film aren’t the same thing, but they are both forms of entertainment. And if women are half the audience of filmgoers, then they can’t be hating the lack of women making film. The math just doesn’t add up.

  8. Jules says:

    David: LOL at the Hollywood Reporter claiming that Jennifer Lawrence received 15 million for JOY…really?. So, why did the HR run an article only two weeks prior to the “salary drama” article claiming that Lawrence received much less for JOY…so…which article is correct?.
    I think the HR, Variety, The Wrap, etc., are full of shit and frequently lie. Besides, if Lawrence did receive 15 million, do you or anyone else know what the terms of that salary was?…the breakdown, at all?. Only Lawrence and her team and the studio knows.

    Btw, good for Lawrence if she did get that salary…because she is fantastic on screen. The thing is, Lawrence probably didn’t in fact make that salary.

  9. Pj says:

    Hey! What would professional victims like Anita do they could only look at the reality of the situation! Kinda glad this came out before the final estimates since the Monday Morning QBing on Max was getting kinda ridiculous. WB saw PP2 and there Beyoncé Girls Run the World campaign and went straight in the opposite direction. It’s makes zero business sense to advertise to women when PP2 had a lock on that share of the marketplace. And the final numbers bear that out. 80% of PP2 audience was female and 70% of MMFR was male. Both were success in their niche.

  10. JS Partisan says:

    Brack… it’s called tumblr, twitter, and facebook. Use the search tools, because this shit is obvious. Sorry that you aren’t seeing it, but it’s there. Joss Whedon left twitter for a reason, and his bullshit press one isn’t that reason.

    All of your fucking arguments though, are fucking straw men. All of them. Being a man, doesn’t mean that I condone the level of bullshit, that Hollywood will have to change in the coming year to keep up with this changing world. If you really believe what you wrote, Brack. I feel for you. I really do.

  11. PcChongor says:

    It’s obviously a complicated problem with an even more complex solution, BUT I’LL BE GODDAMNED IF THE PATRIARCHY STOPS ME FROM USING MY CAPS LOCK KEY!

  12. brack says:

    Tumbler, Twitter, and Facebook? Those are your sources? How very scientific of you. Straw man points? I never said sexism doesn’t exist. What I’m saying is not enough women in this world care about women being directors, producers, etc. Women like plenty of male-oriented entertainment. You can’t have movies like Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, etc., do as well as they do without women. My wife would rather see a MCU movie than a movie that just happens to be directed by a woman. She doesn’t care who makes movies. People on blogs and discussion boards do, but that’s not representative of people, or women, as a whole. Your sample size is weak when you simply list three social media sites as certifiable proof that women as a whole give a crap about sexism in the film industry. Am I saying it’s good or right? Not at all. I don’t condone it, but I’m also not going to live in your fantasy world where women everywhere are up at arms with the lack of women making film when it simply isn’t there.

  13. sam23 says:

    Positing this as a MALE vs FEMALE box office competition is inaccurate.
    Both movies were female-driven. And, besides the action, which is universal, had nothing to offer a male audience.

    Charlize was the bigger star of MAD MAX… both in term of screen time and star power. Eve Ensler consulted on the movie, and its plot concerned a powerful woman saving child brides. With Max as a side note. And I liked all of this, and felt the movie was all very original and cool.

    PP2 was a straight chick flick. It pandered to everything that a broader female audience wanted out of movie. It also played much younger.

    Let’s imagine Max similarly pandered to a male audience. With a more recognizable and obviously macho movie star like Bradley Cooper… Furiosa given the Black Widow treatment in a black latex outfit… and maybe an actual plot that made Max into a hero. The movie would have made a ton of money.

    The real question of this weekend is how much money are we leaving on the table by not simply giving the audience what it wants. Did women actually want Furiosa? Did men? Would BOTH audiences have preferred macho Bradley and sexy Scarlett in the movie?

    PP2 had an all-female young cast and played to the target… what is the last male driven movie that ANYONE can point to that did the same…

    Oh, yeah. THE HANGOVER.

  14. Bob Burns says:

    David’s commentary assumes the film industry is a market based meritocracy.

  15. YancySkancy says:

    I think brack is pretty much right. But it’s not only most women who don’t care who made a film — it’s most people. Those of us who frequent blogs and film sites and live and breathe the movies sometimes forget we’re in a pretty small minority. Most people go to the theater based on the premise, or the cast, or when word of mouth is great, or if it’s a sequel they’ve been anticipating. We’d probably be surprised how few people can name all the stars of a film, even one they liked. I’ll bet there are people who’ve seen all the Marvel Universe films and couldn’t tell you who played Captain America or Thor with a gun to their heads. These same people know nothing about directing. For all they know or care, every film they see is directed by a woman. Maybe if they were educated on the issue, there’d be some sort of “uprising,” but we shouldn’t hold our breath. It’s up to the industry to push for gender equality, because the average moviegoer isn’t going to do it.

  16. JS Partisan says:

    Yancy and Brack: yeah… no.

  17. Jerryishere says:

    The gender problem is our industry’s not the audience’s.
    There is entrenched sexism that has nothing to do with box office.
    Go look up Jill Soloway’s AFI speech the other night.
    She kinda gets to the heart of it.

  18. YancySkancy says:

    Very convincing, JS.

  19. palmtree says:

    “Embrace the freaking ghetto!”

    Seriously? I get what you’re saying…talent and good work will out. But how is telling women to have collective Stockholm Syndrome going to help?

  20. JS Partisan says:

    Brack, three sites used by a billion or more people. If that’s not enough sample size for you, then please enjoy the next Gallup poll, that only features 1000 people. Seriously, the world has changed, and you and Yancy are stuck in the past with your attitude.

    Hollywood will change. They will stop their all white, all male, bullshit, and realize that their audience is a lot more opened minded than they’ve ever been. This world has been run by old white males for far too long, and post likes yours, or David’s, are ignoring that people are a lot more engaged. They know who make these movies, they discuss these movies in ways you don’t, and they are sick of motherfuckers telling them to, “EMBRACE THE FREAKING GHETTO!”

  21. Sam23 says:

    JS… Just because those sites are used by a billion people, it means NOTHING about the majority point-of-view of those users.

    If you’ll remember, the first film in the PP franchise was directed by a man, and that DID NOT turn off a female audience. Arguably, the success of the second (less critically favored) installment is due to the effort of Jason Moore.

    Did a female audience embrace HOT PURSUIT simply because it was directed and produced by women? That was an original film, not a sequel.

    I personally don’t think that either movie succeeded or failed because of the sex of the director. But if you blame the sex of the director on the success… you are forcing the failure on the same reason.

    Thus your argumnet is just as problematic as Brack.

    If you are waiting for the mass revolution of Tumblr users to change the world… you might be waiting for a while. If anything, flagging male attendance will mean MORE male-driven films to win back the audience.

    Many studios feel that the female-driven audience is OVER-SATURATED.

    But, by “embracing the ghetto,” many female-driven films might subvert the system and find greater success and life.

  22. brack says:

    Yeah, these big budget blockbusters with mostly white casts are doing terribly worldwide. Oh wait…

  23. JS Partisan says:

    Hot Pursuit is shit. Let’s be honest: it’s hard to get people to see a movie, that’s shit. Also, you know, Marvel did put out a four quadrant fucking movie the week before.

    Also Sam, if you remember, the studio pulled sexist shit on Elizabeth Banks, and basically forced her to use a guy. She directed the second for a reason, and this is the bullshit people, young women in particular, have a HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM WITH!

    If you want to keep diminishing social media. After it’s brought down governments and all other shit, then I am sorry you are the people who don’t get how it’s changing everything. Again, they drove Joss Whedon off twitter for a reason, because Joss Whedon isn’t PROGRESSIVE ENOUGH. Ponder that for a moment, then realize that they know about this shit. A really large group know about this shit, they are consumers, and they need to be respected. Rather you want to do so, that’s your fucking problem.

    Brack, not a fan of the on’s with black folks in them are they? You pointing out that Hollywood excels at selling whiteness to a world, that doesn’t come out for anything multicultural is a SUCH A SHITTY FUCKING RESPONSE, that it’s rather god damn sad.

  24. Tracker Backer says:

    JS, I sincerely believe that you have a mental problem, and should seek help. Your rants are scary and delusional.

  25. Sam23 says:

    JS… I am in no way arguing with you about the power of social media. I am arguing with your point that its power is massively directed at getting women to direct films.

    If that was the case, Hot Pursuit would have opened. Arguing that it was shit is irrelevant. It was, in fact, a better directed movie than PP2, by a female filmmaker with two HUGE ORIGINAL HITS under her belt.

    If you think Elizabeth Banks not being hired to direct the first movie was sexist, you are NUTS. She was a first time filmmaker and a mid-level actress. Is Bill Hader being offered studio movies to direct?

    Also, did you see some spark of talent in PP2 that showed you Elizabeth Banks was overlooked on the first film. I thought PP2 was a bad movie that only worked because the first one did.

    As for Joss Whedon, no one ran him off Twitter. There are just as many crazy MRAs attacking women online. Are you arguing that they, too, are consumers who need to be respected?

    The “large group” you refer to probably reflects a single-digit percentage of the movie going public. If that.

    Movies are all international at the studio level. Unless you think this group of Tumblr users can drive a female-directed movie to 500M international… I’d sort of bet the status quo stays in place.

    Thus… embrace the ghetto.

  26. brack says:

    Hollywood excels at making money was my point, JS. You were the one who brought up your whiteness subject, not me.

  27. leahnz says:

    brack’s argument here (“it’s quite fair”, hahahahahaha) brings to mind his “only women can stop rape” attitude from that other thread about sexism in the film industry, just stupendous ignorance — and the sports analogy…oh dear, comparing professional sports and the art of visual storytelling to make a point how both just naturally skew male is just so inanely, ignorantly sexist and silly… but it’s also a prevailing attitude out there so it’s a hilariously perfect example of the problem, sadly

    “The gender problem is our industry’s not the audience’s. There is entrenched sexism that has nothing to do with box office.”

    yep. but unfortunately the ‘it’s about capitalism and thus it’s fair!’ denial is extremely pervasive, even as the facts say otherwise – and there are simply far too few women as protagonists (esp now) and behind the camera making movies to provide a large enough sample of films for any sort of valid argument or comparison; but one thing is for absolute certain: men produce, write, shoot, and star in a huge number of shit, mediocre movies and out-and-out bombs all the time, and yet nobody ever questions the male gender as being not up to the task in film, as always the double standards are glaring and simply inane.

    i’m always trying to figure this out, why there seems to be such resistance, some kind of weird desperate masculinity at play wherein (some) men simply will not accept that there’s deeply pervasive systemic, insidious, casual and even overt sexism, bias and double standards rife in all aspects of the film industry – just the sheer amount of bullshit women have to deal with – which powerfully and adversely impacts opportunities available for women in film, and the types of movies being made – often underpinned by the very attitude expressed here, that film is just somehow naturally a male domain/space rather than the reality that women are actively and subconsciously kept out, no doubt because what’s really behind the exclusion is fear, that women are seen as a threat. poor wee boys.

    and this extraordinarily naïve and ignorant notion expressed by DP above, that hard work and talent will make the difference for women in the end and just know your place in the meantime – NO IT WON’T, it’s not working (and has never worked, for anything). in fact, it’s getting worse. it’s buuullllshiiiit

    but, you know, embrace the ghetto bitches!

  28. palmtree says:

    It’s word “embrace” that’s entirely wrong. Yes it’s a ghetto. And yes, there are instances where people have been successful in the ghetto. But that is out of necessity more than an embrace. They learned to make art out of the limitations of the box they’re in.

    But what’s disturbing is trying to discount the idea of working from outside the ghetto to bust that ghetto open so it’s connected to the larger world. Why is that somehow not an equally worthy goal for filmmakers to have?

  29. JS Partisan says:

    Sam, a mid-level actress should stop her from getting work? Does it stop all the mid-level actors, that get shots at directing damn near anything? Seriously, that comment is fucking ridiculous.

    Also, you seem to not get, that MRAs got Intel to cancel a campaign. Seriously, Joss can put on the brave face, and cover up for people. What he stated, just isn’t the damn case.

    Oh yeah, seriously, the status fucking quo is going to change, because the SINGLE PERCENT POINT is going to drag these motherfuckers to change. I hate to break it to you, but you are living in the 60s. You are living in the early 70s. Change is happening. You can act like it isn’t, but it is. The sooner Hollywood wakes up to it. The sooner they can make MONEY OFF OF IT, like these motherfuckers did in the 70s.

    Leah, you are way too nice to these motherfuckers. Way too nice.

  30. brack says:

    Leahnz: make little of my points all you want, but let’s be honest. Your agenda isn’t to have a conversation, but to belittle anyone who doesn’t agree with your superior viewpoint on this issue. Sorry to tell you this, but your viewpoint isn’t popular or representative of the conversation as a whole. You have your agenda, fine, but it’s myoptic to the point of not seeing the bigger picture.

  31. brack says:

    And please, show me where I ever stated women can stop rape. You are straight up slandering me at this point.

  32. leahnz says:

    wait, my viewpoint isn’t popular or representative of the conversation (as someone who has worked in the film industry for what seems like forfuckingever) AND YOURS IS?
    hahahahahaha what a tool.
    (oh you can look up your rape comment in the archives, i think christian commented on it too as the dumbest comment ever – i seem to remember something like that – so it’ll be there twice)

    JS er, you know i have rainbows coming out my arse…

    well how’s this for you: i’ve been doing some previs work for a woman film-maker who’s doing an anthology thing and she’s just come off directing an ep of a fairly high profile US tv series, and she ended up shitcanning her DoP early on for refusing to set up her shots/re-setting them up without consulting her, and she also fired her line producer for making incessant sexual comments to her and then calling her a cunt and telling her to blow him when she told him he was unprofessional and asked him for the umpteenth time to desist (he then keyed her car, which was witnessed by another male crew member who then told her who’d done it – but boys are always so rational and mature! hahaha). she knows it’ll have repercussions for her professionally but i think there comes a saturation point and then it’s game on, fuckers, so there you go

  33. David Poland says:

    Well, Leah… glad I didn’t look at this until you got that last comment out.

    There is a difference between horror shows like you just offered – which I know exists in too many cases and have never suggested does not – and a broader view of the problem.

    “Game on, fuckers” is where are lot of this issue is right now. And there is no context allowed except for that.

    To your eyes, I have no experience. I have no insight. I can’t possibly have perspective unless I somehow sign on for the “this is a violent, intentional attack on women” posture about the movie business.

    This is my problem. I agree with ” there’s deeply pervasive systemic, insidious, casual and even overt sexism, bias and double standards rife in all aspects of the film industry – just the sheer amount of bullshit women have to deal with – which powerfully and adversely impacts opportunities available for women in film, and the types of movies being made”

    But then I think you overreach – “often underpinned by the very attitude expressed here, that film is just somehow naturally a male domain/space rather than the reality that women are actively and subconsciously kept out, no doubt because what’s really behind the exclusion is fear, that women are seen as a threat.”

    I never said that or anything like it. You are showing your personal bias and foisting it on me for daring to say something other than suggesting revolution in the film business.

    Sometimes a banana is just a damned banana.

    There are all kinds of niches/ghettos that are not being well managed by the studios at this time. And all of them see themselves as victims of something.

    I don’t see women as a threat. I don’t think movies are well served by being a boys club or a white club. It would be well served by being color-blind and gender-blind.

    But, the right to make studio movies is not the same as the right to an education or voting or freedom.

    Capitalism isn’t fair. But it is what exists in the film business, combined with a lot of biases and foot dragging, some of which do create safety and many of which are self-destructive.

    When I write, “embrace the ghetto” after pointing out the massive profitability likely for Pitch Perfect 2, I am not saying, “suck it up, girls and take the crumbs the boys offer.” I’m saying, “embrace the model… because the model isn’t going to change. That success IS the model, even if it feels like a ghetto.” What happens within the model can change, has changed, and will change.

    This weekend, by the way, Max is in the ghetto… of R-rated action movies that tend to have a limited audience. “the Ghetto” is not just about women or people of color… all kinds of films find themselves stuck in the fury roads of the niche. This is not a shock.

    I hear your anger and I don’t disagree with you and most of what you have to say about this, except for how you choose to mischaracterize me. But I know that is just going to piss you off more.

    In your view, it seems, only the losses matter. The wins never count. Wins are never earned or taken by women… just given to women by men. I don’t see it that way.

    But that doesn’t mean that I don’t see the shit that many women in this business have to put up with daily. These two things do not preclude one another.

    Meanwhile, the attitude of oppression – not of suffering bias, but serious oppression – insults all the women who have risen, who are building things within the system, who are doing better. Are we meant to see them as Uncle Toms in this scenario? Because that is what the attitude about the industry overall suggests to me.

    If you can never win as women, then what is it that you want? And from whom do you want it?

    I wish I could say I was sorry that I pissed you off on this… but I’m not. At least there is some form of conversation going on, even if you have to play me off as a member of the He Man Woman Haters Club.

    Now off to see movies and to talk to some of the women who made them… those poor dears… who have done what 90% of the people here wish they had done themselves.

  34. leahnz says:

    “often underpinned by the very attitude expressed here, that film is just somehow naturally a male domain/space rather than the reality that women are actively and subconsciously kept out”

    that was re: brack’s comment ftr, not you DP

    i’m not going to comment on most of that above, because i see that you took what was mostly a response to brack and his inane attitude and applied it to you, which was simply a misunderstanding and that can happen easily on blogs, so just a woosh

    one thing i think is fascinating tho – and you tend to say this a quite a lot – is that you claim what i then say is ‘over-reaching’… the issue is, of course, that you simply have no experience or knowledge re: sexism in the industry (you just don’t, and i’m sorry if you think you do – but you don’t) and the many, many ways it manifests and the fingers of influence it has, so when you claim i’m ‘over-reaching’, just what on earth is that based on? if anything i’m UNDER-REACHING here, way under-reaching, and the fact is you wouldn’t know the difference because you simply have no point of reference.

    ETA:

    “In your view, it seems, only the losses matter. The wins never count. Wins are never earned or taken by women… just given to women by men. I don’t see it that way”

    what on earth are you talking about here, i don’t see ANYTHING as given to women in this industry by men, women have to be tough as fuck and put up with so much crap and fight hard for everything, so i think this statement is just ludicrous and i don’t see how you come to this conclusion, but you are horribly wrong.

  35. David Poland says:

    Thanks for the clarification. But I wonder why you think you know what experience I have with sexism in the industry. Do you know who I know and what journeys I have shared? Or is it that my penis is in the way of me being capable of understanding? And snarky as that question is, I am actually asking if that is your position.

  36. brack says:

    I’m pretty sure you having a penis is the sole reason why you have “No experience”, David.

    Call my opinion inane all you want, leahnz, you are just salty because you know in the grand scheme of things your cause is slight because, honestly, not enough people in this world care, right or wrong. Hate me all you want, but you know it’s the truth.

  37. brack says:

    I searched my username and rape, and no results. Surprise, surprise.

  38. doug r says:

    When you think about it, the plot of Fury Road is an allegory of the movie business.

  39. YancySkancy says:

    Just to be clear, I too agree that the industry has gender “issues.” The numbers are self-evident. But it’s ridiculous to think that some very vocal folks on FB, twitter, etc., represent a statistically significant percentage of the American public. Only people who are obsessed with movies have any idea who Anne Fletcher is or that Hot Pursuit was directed by a woman. Even people who literally saw “Directed by Anne Fletcher” in the opening credits couldn’t tell you afterward who directed it. No, I don’t have any polling info or other stats, just a life lived among “normal” people. Hell, half the people I went to film school with back in the day had never heard of Katharine Hepburn or Sam Peckinpah. But the point is, the public’s ignorance or lack of support shouldn’t be a factor in the studios doing the right thing and hiring more women directors.

  40. Hallick says:

    “And here’s another reality: most people couldn’t care less who makes a movie, and don’t know who did either. Is that right? Who’s to say, but it’s the truth. If most women don’t care about sexism in the film industry, why should anyone else?”

    Even if most people couldn’t care less who makes a movie, and don’t know who did either, saying that this equals most women not caring about sexism in the film industry is utterly stupid. Most people couldn’t care less about who makes their paper plates, brake pads, frozen burritos and crew socks, but most women (and hopefully a ton of their sons, brothers, fathers and husbands) still care about sexism in those and any other industries.

  41. Hallick says:

    “Call my opinion inane all you want, leahnz, you are just salty because you know in the grand scheme of things your cause is slight because, honestly, not enough people in this world care, right or wrong. Hate me all you want, but you know it’s the truth.”

    Whatever you think of the manner in which she fights for her cause, what makes pushing back against sexism and the mistreatment of women in the film industry a slight cause?

  42. Hallick says:

    “Also, you seem to not get, that MRAs got Intel to cancel a campaign. Seriously, Joss can put on the brave face, and cover up for people. What he stated, just isn’t the damn case.”

    I don’t understand what MRAs are, what intel they got, and which campaign you’re referring to. Who are the people Joss was covering up for? His expressed reason for pulling out of Twitter (it’s too much goddamn work to deal responsibly with everything coming at you each and every second of the day when you also have a life and a highly demanding day job to deal with first) made perfect sense to me.

  43. Hallick says:

    “They know who make these movies, they discuss these movies in ways you don’t”

    They who reliably fall into both of these categories on a regular basis are still few and far between, regardless of the righteousness of their cause. But the promised land is to reach the point where I’m as who-cares-oblivious as to who directed Pitch Perfect 2 as I am to whoever directed Pitch Perfect 1.

  44. leahnz says:

    “Call my opinion inane all you want, leahnz, you are just salty because you know in the grand scheme of things your cause is slight because, honestly, not enough people in this world care, right or wrong. Hate me all you want, but you know it’s the truth.”

    haha wow way to show your true colors brack, a grade-A, self-satisfied, EXTREMELY stupid, delusional sexist asshole. congrats, sweetie, i already knew this to be true from past dealings with you but it’s always kind of nice to see someone hang themselves with their own rope.
    (and btw your comment is there in the archives, different words for rape)

    DP, i guess i’ll ask you this: do you consider yourself fully able to comprehend, for example, exactly what a black person experiences and lives when they encounter the deeply systemic, casual, overt and subtle racism, biases and double-standards experienced by people of colour in white society, all through their lives?
    as a white person i know i simply don’t and can’t, because i haven’t lived that experience and that of others they connect with who also live and deal with racial discrimination in the many forms it takes, but i can listen and take in and do my best to be an ally and empathise with their experience and take a hard look at my own attitudes and behaviour. it’s not about me.
    and while sexism and racism are obviously not identical and intersect with society in different ways, sexism is uniquely pervasive in that no matter where you go on this planet, whatever the race, creed or culture, half the population and human experience is female.
    so do you really believe that a (particularly straight white*) man can understand what it’s like for women and how insidious sexist attitudes and discrimination are, any more than you can really understand what it’s like for black people and how insidious racism is?
    if you do, i’ll just say i think that’s pretty arrogant.

    * i realise you have jewish heritage, i mean simply outward, surface appearance in this regard

  45. brack says:

    Leahnz, you show your true colors when you love to name call people and call them stupid when we simply have a difference of opinion. And different words for rape? What were they? You make it a mission to say I apparently support rape, yet I didn’t even use the word I used. But whatever, it has nothing to do with what we’re talking about, just more pointless conjecture on your part.

    My wife thinks you are stupid from all your previous comments and your stupid crusade of gender equality in film when, like David has mentioned several times, isn’t the same thing as equal rights for education, voting, etc. Male or female, making it in film is hard already. But so is any business, especially entertainment, which is not a necessity. There’s no such thing as equal rights for making film. And you confuse sexism and sexual harassment as one in the same, and they’re not. No one here think that’s right, so why you are arguing over stuff no one is even talking about is beyond me except for you to prove how godawful all women are treated. But it’s funny how you can talk about how David can’t understand or empathize with others who aren’t like him, but you are the fucking expert when it comes to white males and how sexist they are?Talk about hypocritical.

  46. leahnz says:

    ETA good lord it’s almost freaky how stupid and ignorant you are brack (sexism and sexual harassment aren’t the same? why do you think sexual harassment exists? yikes). yes, i called you stupid. i believe you are stupid. don’t see where i’ve name-called anywhere here, i’m saying i think you’re stupid. that’s an opinion. and that you think DP knows about industry sexism is just hilarious, but you go with your DP fandom, very cute (also never said i was an ‘expert on white males and how sexist they are’, you’re truly bizarre, i think you’re on the wrong blog. nor did i say you support rape, but since you’re not very bright my point was that you were blaming women for sexism in the film industry, just like you said only women could stop sexism and sexual assault against them, it was an analogy. you can learn about analogies vs literalism, if you’re comprehension skills allow it)

    “There is a difference between horror shows like you just offered – which I know exists in too many cases and have never suggested does not – and a broader view of the problem.”

    i ran out of steam yesterday before i got the chance to address this DP comment, and i have a free moment now so just to quickly point out, i think this is a telling attitude in regard to how people simply don’t understand that sexist attitudes and behaviour in general – and in this case specifically the film industry – are not isolated instances but part of a spectrum, existing on a ‘continuum of bullshit’ that tends to perpetuate itself.
    the undermining of women working as directors in the industry (as per the example above) is simply one point on the vast continuum of how women film-makers are valued less and subjected to misogynist myth (women don’t have the ambition, should be home with their children, aren’t proper leaders, don’t have the stamina, are too emotional, can’t write as well, can’t be trusted with money, can only do ‘women’s stuff’, can’t direct men’s stories, can’t use a camera, can’t direct action, blah blah blah) that seriously undermines and effects opportunities.
    so when you say there is a difference between the horror show like i described – which is SUPER common – and the broader view of the problem, no, there isn’t. it’s just one part of the spectrum of bullshit that women deal with as a matter of course; that fact that this type of undermining is so common and exists in the first place (and is largely tolerated, often with grave professional consequences for the women who stand up against it) shows how sexism and misogyny underpins the industry. when the reality is, movies with female leads/directors make money. that’s not what it’s about.

  47. brack says:

    Look up sexism and sexual harassment in any dictionary and they have very different meanings. And you call me stupid. Maybe if you took a second to read your posts before you post them you wouldn’t come off as such a moron pretending to be an intelligent person with your blowhard comments. I’m a DP fanboy how, because I agreed with David that sexism in film isn’t in the same class as the right to education or voting? Are you really that insane?

  48. brack says:

    “you were blaming women for sexism in the film industry, just like you said only women could stop sexism and sexual assault against them, it was an analogy. you can learn about analogies vs literalism, if you’re comprehension skills allow it)”

    I said they could stop all sexual assaults? No, sorry, I never said all women can stop sexual assaults. Secondly, I wasn’t blaming women for sexism. I simply stated not many people (and I used women as a focus because they should the the most upset about it) care about the lack of female directors. Why you think I’m pointing fingers when I’m merely getting to the broader point of the discussion is your agenda of accusing anyone who even slightly disagrees with your viewpoint as not seeing reality, or more importantly how wrong-headed anyone is who doesn’t see things your way completely, especially when it comes to the topic of sexism.

  49. leahnz says:

    you know, it’s always fascinating to be told by some dude that his opinion on the sexist treatment of women is as equally informed, valid and worthy of consideration as the party who’s actually experienced sexism first-hand all one’s life, sees it on a daily basis in the treatment of girls and women. it’s simply ridiculous, but so tiresomely common, same shit different day.

    what’s truly disturbing about the attitude on display here re the dismissal of ‘gender equality in film’ as having no importance compared to ‘valid’ concerns such as representation in education, etc, is the stunning lack of understanding of how socially powerful and pervasive storytelling and art – in this case film and cinema – are in our culture, as a reflection of where we are and the messages it sends – which currently is overwhelmingly a barrage of stories told by men about boys and men in all their complicated and idiotic glory, where girls and women are overwhelmingly depicted in the mainstream as supporting players in men’s lives to motivate them, or objects valued for their physical appearance and to be won, not girls and women as heroes of their own stories and lives, with complex depiction of their internal lives as human beings. i think this might be slowly shifting, maybe at least getting back more to the level of women and girls represented in mainstream cinema before the great recent MANENNING of cinema culture, so that’s slightly heartening.

    if you don’t think that gender equality is important culturally and in the representation of girl/women in art and making art, well i actually feel sorry for you and really, really hope that any possible children of either gender aren’t exposed to this disregard for the importance of girls and women in art and culture, which is really saddening more than anything.

  50. pat says:

    “His expressed reason for pulling out of Twitter (it’s too much goddamn work to deal responsibly with everything coming at you each and every second of the day when you also have a life and a highly demanding day job to deal with first) made perfect sense to me.”

    So after working non-stop for five years, Joss Whedon quits Twitter NOW? When he finally has some time off?
    Typical Hollywood white male ego. Doesn’t want to admit being intimidated by angry women on the internet.

  51. palmtree says:

    DP, you said capitalism isn’t fair. But earlier you say certain niches/ghettos are not managed well by studios. That’s the paradox.

    By not marketing to catering to women, the studios are going against their capitalist self-interests. That’s money on the table. And when a movie taps into that female audience (Titanic and Frozen come to mind), the results are beyond huge. Why that hasn’t led to more development is exactly where the issue of sexism takes hold…when studios would rather leave money on the table than to develop content for a huge willing audience.

    That massive hole is why Summit could put together Twilight or Lionsgate could do Hunger Games. Not an embrace, just common sense.

    So instead of calling it Capitalism (as if it’s some non-biased result of market forces), why not call it the shame that it is?

  52. Stella's Boy says:

    brack you have said that generally speaking women don’t care about the lack of female directors and that women don’t care about sexism in Hollywood. Like Hallick points out, it’s ridiculous to assert that women in general not caring about who directs a movie means that women don’t care about sexism in the industry. My wife, for one, pays attention to who directs and stars in movies. Not as much as nerds like us, but as best she can. She cares.

    Are there equal rights for being on the board of a major company? Does that mean it’s not important to eliminate sexism in the boardroom? That seems like an awfully weak defense to me. “Well yeah sexism is not cool OK but there’s no equal right to direct a movie.”

  53. PcChongor says:

    If the people screeching back and forth actually did care about feminism vs. the thrill they get from just endlessly talking about it, they’d probably hold things like “stopping Boko Haram’s mass kidnappings” and “ending Saudi Arabia’s ban againat women from doing practically anything” at a far higher priority level than “making sure just as many women as men get to anonymously direct giant douchey tentpole films.”

    But no one actually does, so they don’t. Now, back to holding down that shift key UNTIL SOMEONE TELLS ME I’M RIGHT!

  54. Hallick says:

    “So after working non-stop for five years, Joss Whedon quits Twitter NOW? When he finally has some time off?”

    Yeah. It also sounds rather sane when you put it that way.

    “Typical Hollywood white male ego. Doesn’t want to admit being intimidated by angry women on the internet.”

    Assuming that because Whedon is white and male in Hollywood he could only have been intimidated? If you’re only able to deal in broad generalizations based on skin color and gender, sure, that’s what happened, all the way.

  55. Stella's Boy says:

    Didn’t Whedon quit Twitter once before? It’s pretty easy to have a love-hate relationship with it. No one would ever use it if they were intimidated by trolls or hateful tweets.

  56. brack says:

    Once again, I never suggested gender inequality in film isn’t a problem, but there are reasons besides men just dominating everything. We have moved past the Mad Men-era. If think I don’t know what women go through as far as sexism, then you are just as sexist as you claim I am. I have two older sisters, I have worked primarily with women for close to a decade, and I see first hand what happens. But here’s the great thing about these women: they don’t act like victims. And people here talking about sexism when you are really talking about something else like classism and who makes up boardrooms doesn’t really jive well with the topic of female directors and what not.

  57. Stella's Boy says:

    Have we really moved past the Mad Men era brack?

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/susancheng/paul-johansson?utm_term=.bpB8da7Wd#.ujkk3Pyn2

    http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/04/shit-people-say-women-directors-blog-hollywood-sexism

    My wife deals with sexism daily. She’s in sales. Every time she meets with a male client or her male boss she deals with it. I certainly wouldn’t say she’s a victim, but based on what she tells me, the Mad Men era ain’t exactly over.

  58. leahnz says:

    holy shit there’s a whole tumblr of this stuff. maybe i shouldn’t read that, i don’t know why but i’m scared of tumblr

    “If the people screeching back and forth actually did care about feminism vs. the thrill they get from just endlessly talking about it, they’d probably hold things like “stopping Boko Haram’s mass kidnappings” and “ending Saudi Arabia’s ban againat women from doing practically anything” at a far higher priority level than “making sure just as many women as men get to anonymously direct giant douchey tentpole films.”

    wow this is tiresome. so you assume that:
    1) people who care aren’t doing what they can to support organisations on the ground who are trying to make a difference for women in these dire circumstances (i know i do);
    2) that people who talk about the issue of equality/feminism are doing so for a “thrill” rather than a genuine desire to see change or justice;
    3) that because somewhere in the world gross injustice and misogyny is thriving that sexism and misogyny in other parts of the world where the issue effects people and society in more insidious ways is not important and also worth fighting to change. this is a very dangerous attitude. i mean hey, slavery was abolished in the US in a technical sense in the 1800’s so presto, racism solved! isn’t it?

    maybe someone could address the simple fact that films with women in prominent roles in front of and behind the camera make money, this is a fact, and any perception to the contrary is false. again, the capitalism argument is nonsense and has little to with sexism in the film industry.

    “And people here talking about sexism when you are really talking about something else like classism”

    NOBODY here is talking about classism mistaking it for sexism, classism in women denied opportunities to direct is NOT A THING. letting idiocy slide should also not be a thing. also, women who are being discriminated against, SHUT UP AND TAKE IT, STOP ACTING LIKE VICTIMS. when will this idiocy go away? maybe when idiots go away. people can be and are victims of discrimination in all types of circumstances, that it’s then implied by people who’d like to downplay this fact with the assertion that people are therefor ‘playing the victim’ says everything about the perception of the person making this claim and nothing about the person who’s experienced discrimination.

  59. Hallick says:

    “But here’s the great thing about these women: they don’t act like victims.”

    How do you mean exactly? Do you mean they’re standing up for themselves and pushing back against it, or do you mean that they ignore it and just go on with their day?

    “And people here talking about sexism when you are really talking about something else like classism and who makes up boardrooms doesn’t really jive well with the topic of female directors and what not.”

    Where is it classism instead of sexism?

  60. storymark says:

    Wow, that was an…. interesting read.

  61. leahnz says:

    gee thanks for making me read the whole thread again out of curiosity storymark (sarcasm/not sarcasm – it’s weird to read a thread in it’s entirety after lots of comments, especially because when you’re commenting in a thread you tend to read it kind of backwards/scroll upwards from the most recent to catch up and it takes on a segmented quality in the heat of commenting, it takes on a different bent when you read it from the inception to finish, all the unfolding drama)

  62. Leapinlizzardshit says:

    Wow! Holy shit! This is just ignorant! You’re such a bad ass who is afraid of Tumblr? Get a life already.

  63. leahnz says:

    er i’m sorry, i don’t know how to respond to or take that (nothing good i’m sure) but since i’m blogging around i’ll admit that i’m freaked out by some weird shit, metronomes is probably the most inexplicable, chickens, bald spots, calliope music… tumblr’s pretty low on the list but whenever i’ve gone on there in the past (ie once) i went down some rabbit hole from one tumblr to the next – ie tumbling, hence the title – and i’d rather waste time doing other dumb stuff i guess, no offence to tumblr intended

  64. brack says:

    Because the rich stay rich, the poor stay poor, etc., etc. The idea of directors having to be equally male or female seems unimportant when it should come down to talent. But like in any industry, talent doesn’t always matter. The workplace isn’t fair, and acting like it is going to be is remarkably silly. Capitalism is a genuine argument; studios will continue to keep doing what they’ve been doing as long as it makes money. It isn’t about “justice.” No one needs to make movies, so the idea of injustice is kind of a moot point. More importantly, not even many people get to make movies, period. So the idea of making sure there’s some sort of affirmative action for filmmaking seems rather silly.

  65. Triple Option says:

    Brack, could you please clarify your posts? It reads to me that you are saying, neither life nor capitalism are fair. The fact that no one is rioting or calling for congressional action in Hollywood (that you know of) proves that it’s not that big of a deal. However, anyone (woman) complaining about the lack of opportunity for female directors is just playing the victim card, yes? No one has an inalienable right to direct, so no one has the right to complain about the sex of the directors. Also, despite your admitting sexism exists in the world, you feel it would be wrong to assume that sexism has any force of consequence in determining the ratio of male to female directors working in Hollywood, is that correct as well? Further, any attempt to alter the arbitrary (no standardized method currently in use) means by which directors are selected would somehow be a discriminatory practice itself? Anyone wishing to see the ratio of sex of the directors to coincide with ratio of men and women on the earth or of the film buying public is silly?

    In short, I read what you are saying is that life isn’t fair but any attempt to make it as such would be wrong. Is that an accurate assessment? If so, why do you feel that way? If missed something, could you please explain?

  66. palmtree says:

    “Capitalism is a genuine argument; studios will continue to keep doing what they’ve been doing as long as it makes money.”

    By underserving half the audience, they are LOSING money. They’d be much better off developing blockbusters for young women too. Right? That’s not affirmative action, that’s capitalism.

  67. Monco says:

    So Mad Max should have made 100 million instead of 50 million. According to critics it was made for women yet that audience stayed home.

    We will test this argument when the Ghostbuster reboots happen. One female fronted the other male. It will be interesting to see which one makes more.

  68. PcChongor says:

    Okay, fine. Males everywhere will agree to finally let a woman churn out the next garbage Marvel film, but in return, women will then also have to finally concede that Melissa McCarthy is just as unfunny as Kevin James is.

  69. leahnz says:

    i think Miller made ‘fury road’ for, you know, PEOPLE.
    crazy huh. he probably believed (and rightly so) that he made a hard-core action flick for people who like highly-stylised, high-speed fucked-up super-out-there bonkers action utilizing universal themes that viewers of any gender can relate to in some way; yes, subverting clichéd gender tropes with varied depictions of women who determine their own destiny on some level, but by no means only women (for example ‘war boy’ and max himself), people who are used and fight back against an oppressive overlord is a universal theme, freedom and self-determination is a universal theme.
    Miller probably believed (and rightly so) that men would be perfectly able to appreciate these human themes as conveyed using furiosa as a protagonist/hero fighting for the freedom of others – and i’d wager that the vast majority of men who view the film don’t feel threatened by a woman in this role in the least, and can do exactly that, not just women (my pretty much full-house showing of ‘fury road’ appeared evenly split adult women/men, as are most R movies really).
    this increasingly sharp gender delineation imposed on and assumed of film and audiences now is insane and harmful to creativity and art; we need well-written, reasonably-budgeted, diverse cinema in varied genres made for ADULTS starring women and men made by talented women and men with something to say while they engage/entertain/thrill/ us, diverse points of view are oxygen to cinema. (i remember a thread some time back there was a discussion along these same lines in which i think it was hcat (that might be wrong) lamented the days of women protags in film of his youth because – shockingly enough – most men actually LIKE women.) using these two rather extreme examples of ‘pitch perfect’ and ‘fury road’ as some sort of universal example of gender delineation in cinema and viewers seems a bit absurd because they are both quite niche in terms of hard-R and very niche musical theatre that people of both genders will probably either tend to appreciate or find not their cup of tea at all.
    if the mainstream marketplace is continuously flooded with mostly male-lead and made cinema as it is now, of course that’s what’s going to make $, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle; then when female-protag cinema comes out (such as ‘hunger games’, or ‘gravity’) and kills at the box office, it’s rationalised as some kind of outlier, it’s illogical and makes no sense. as is the idea that a singular occurrence of the female vs male ghostbusters remake is going to deliver the definitive verdict on WOMEN vs MEN at the cinema, this type of thinking is exactly the type of thing that’s gone so horribly wrong.

  70. Bulldog68 says:

    Leahnz are you saying that Miller did not consult with Michael Bay on how women are to be portrayed on film? Shocking.

    I’d wager that most of the Audience Reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes are male and with a 92% rating, most males did not sit there during the movie thinking “Wow, what powerful females roles are being displayed before my eyes.”

    Just a solid action movie that was well done that did not patronize or glamorize or preach a particular gender stereotypes. There were damsels in distress that needed to be saved, there were women who because of their environment adapted to survive as best they could. Their were men who were warriors, and men who were slaves. Miller made a movie about people.

    Once again…shocking.

  71. leahnz says:

    yeah i was thinking about this before, isn’t one of the great wonders and challenges of cinema (if not the greatest) the ability to transport the viewer and get us to relate to and experience the world through different eyes, see things from another perspective while exploring universal themes of humanity — isn’t it beautiful and irreplaceable that grown men can relate to and be moved by pai’s lonely journey in her seaside village in ‘whale rider’ or hushpuppy in her harsh yet fantastical flooded bathtub in ‘beasts of the southern wild’, as extreme examples of female characters that probably couldn’t be further from themselves and yet draw people into their stories with universal truths about how we all feel and relate to the world at times regardless of gender or race or nationality or social station. it’s anti-cinema and the wonder of storytelling to limit and narrow the types of protagonists and diverse stories on offer such has been happening in the current constricted cinema culture, it does nothing but a disservice to all viewers.

  72. Hcat says:

    PC, that’s sort of the point, males don’t OWN the marvel movies anymore than females own McCarthy. There are no gender line concessions to be made.

    Leah, that sounds like something I would say. Probably talking about the lamentable term chick flick being retrofitted to the films of my teen years.

  73. JP says:

    It’s too late to get involved in this argument, but all I want to say is “This is a first world problem”.

    The idea that women on Twitter, Facebook, whatever the newest trending site of the days is, etc, are going to reject any movie based on who directs/writes/produces it is insane. It’s beyond insanity-it’s like looking at Fox News polls/the Iowa Straw Poll/The Iowa Caucuses, and saying “I know who is going to be the next president!, because my experience with that limited concept puts me in the know!!” Michelle Bachmann is still waiting for her phone call on that one.

    This discussion of sexism/racism/discrimination is looking at the world through film-nerd goggles.

    Experiment-go out on the street and ask anyone who played Sully in “Avatar”, the highest grossing film ever. If you get 1/100, congratulations. If you can get 10/100 to say that James Cameron directed it, or to name Joss Whedon as the director of A2, also congratulations (both are males, so it must be sexism on everyones part unless they can name Sigourney Weaver or ScarJo as possible directors of both).

    You have 50% of the people voting for president every four years, with less than 15% of them being able to name both candidates while they’re voting. You really think they give a shit about who directs “Hot Pursuit”, “Whatever Marvel movie comes out every year”, etc. You can’t see your own bias if you think that way.

    Sexism is the film industry exists, I’m sure, like it exists everywhere. The people that say we’re post-racism, post anti-Semitism, post-feminism, post-anti-homosexuality, post-any-kind-of-discrimination, are most likely white males who have declared an end to those problems based on their experiences with other white males (BTW, I’m a white male, so maybe I know about this particular point of view, in the same way I have no idea if women in Hollywood get discriminated against, no idea if black people experience racism, no idea if Jewish people experience anti-Semitism, etc.). I don’t know that these things exist in everyday society, so imagine the stretch it would take for me to care about or appreciate the fact that they exist in Hollywood, which is barely on the peripheral of society. All those things are always going to be here. I’m sure I will get attacked for being a Dave Fan Boy, but his entire point seemed to be “Celebrate small victories, because the large victories are few and far between”.

    Here’s a real world example, and also a first world problem. Without someone realizing the validity, necessity and practicality of “Lawrence Vs. Texas”, there is no dropping of the mic that is about to happen in Obergefell v. Hodges. Small victories lead to large ones. So…uh…embrace the ghetto of “Lv.T”? I would assume that makes me a legal elitist and an asshole, so I’m sure this will be my last post.

  74. Hcat says:

    Yes it’s a first world problem, does that mean it shouldn’t be mentioned until all injustice has been wiped out? Sorry ladies we won’t be doing any hiring until they get that situation in the Sudan figured out.

    Yes the vast majority of people don’t know or care who make or act in the movies (though I believe they can discern if a cast member is male or female). I don’t know or care about the gender of the pilot of my flight, but if I read that industry underhires female pilots despite a large supply of female pilots, I can acknowledge its a problem.

  75. JP says:

    Would that problem of underhiring pilots stop you from taking the flight-if not, you’re proving the point. You might care, but you wouldn’t do anything about it except bitch in an online forum.

  76. JP says:

    It should be mentioned, but you shouldn’t equate one person saying “Hey, maybe celebrate small victories against entrenched wrong ideas” with that person being a sexist asshole for saying that. Re-read the entire thread and tell me that isn’t what this argument became.

  77. Hcat says:

    Your right under representation is not going to make me boycott film. And Fuck No am I re-reading this thread. As with many long threads eight arguments are going on at once and what points are being referenced get grouped together but I would say you are soft pedaling Dave’s there are good things happening in the gheto comment and making Leah’s response more severe (her more pointed language was toward another poster whom I’m sure has thick enough skin to go ten rounds in an arguement with any of us).

  78. JP says:

    Hcat-I’m not going to say this entire thread focused on one argument, but the back and forth between everyone involved about one small sentence turned into ‘eight different arguments’ about men vs. women in general, and lost the point. The whole thing is a microcosm about why problems never get solved-people do not address the original point of an argument, but ascribe the politics of a loaded sentence onto one persons entire viewpoint about life.

    And for the record, if Leah cares to respond to this, here is where you lost me:

    “i’m always trying to figure this out, why there seems to be such resistance, some kind of weird desperate masculinity at play wherein (some) men simply will not accept that there’s deeply pervasive systemic, insidious, casual and even overt sexism, bias and double standards rife in all aspects of the film industry – just the sheer amount of bullshit women have to deal with – which powerfully and adversely impacts opportunities available for women in film, and the types of movies being made – often underpinned by the very attitude expressed here, that film is just somehow naturally a male domain/space rather than the reality that women are actively and subconsciously kept out, no doubt because what’s really behind the exclusion is fear, that women are seen as a threat. poor wee boys.”

    Sexism in the film industry is probably rampant. But who are these men who will not acknowledge this exists, in the film industry specifically, because that is what you are talking about? Show me an example? Just one, on the record, besides some asshole saying “Films by women don’t make as much money as films by men” that gets posted in comments sections of all kinds of film blogs.

    Please don’t give me “I work in the film industry, so I know everything about sexism that goes on in the industry and how every male involved in the industry ‘systematically’ and ‘insidiously’ ignores that fact?” Who has specifically said, on record, that males are afraid of women in the industry, and thus exclude them from it? Did this happen in a meeting you were in, so you assume it goes on everywhere? Did this happen to 20 people you know, so you assume it’s everywhere? All you ever argue in this thread boils down to “I’ve seen it personally, so it’s true, and F-you for not seeing it with me.”

    I work in the finance industry, and I could give you examples of women who have been passed over for males. But I could also give you the reverse where males have been passed over for females in the name of diversity. Neither of these situations has affected me personally, but I don’t automatically assume there is rampant sexism and Affirmative Action programs at place in my work environment to screw me over. That doesn’t mean that I could ever get anyone I know to argue convincingly that “Sexism exists in the finance industry”. One off examples are BS, and you’re too smart from your arguments not to know that saying “I’ve seen this, so it’s obviously true” holds up anywhere.

    When you look at your argument as a detached person, who is not involved in the industry, it reads exactly like “The ILLUMINATI is to blame for this.” Seriously-look at your posts.

    But if you can’t even acknowledge that someone like Dave, who has worked in the industry for a long time, or as long as I have been reading him (granted he doesn’t work as a writer/producer/director/whatever), might not have an idea about what goes on, how can you expect anyone else in the outside world to know, or care?

    There are a ton of intelligent people writing about film, some as critics, some as other things-if Wesley Morris, the late Roger Ebert, AO Scott, Manohla Dargis, Claudia Puig, or any random writer said that they don’t see it, or that maybe things are getting better instead of worse (albeit slowly), would you accuse them of the same things? I don’t get it, but I have no doubt from what I’ve read that the ability to not get it as you see it makes me part of the entire problem of sexist behavior in Hollywood.

  79. leahnz says:

    ugh facepalm.
    i’ve thought about whether to reply to this sort of dismissive mental gymnastics and the lack of comprehension it takes to write something like the above (or is it just sheer ignorance, very hard to tell really) and tbh i don’t think it’s worth my bother, i mean fts, so tiresome. SSDD. i’ll do some quick bullet points out of some perverse sense of duty (why do i have this, to some dude on the internet? i honestly don’t know, it’s bizarre) so as not to just blow it off, which makes me feel…like i’m letting down the side or something, wtf is that all about. good thing i type fast:

    – DP does not (nor do any of the other people you mention by name above for that matter) work in the film industry. he is an ‘entertainment journalist’ (is that the right term? i don’t know, and i don’t give a shit). i thought it would be obvious: the film industry is the one in which people make films. then there’s an industry where people write about films and do interviews and whatnot afterwards. if you can’t or don’t see the difference, i can’t help you. more power to them, but if you think people doing entertainment journalism see what actually goes on in the industry then you’re terribly mistaken.

    – so to clarify, you basically require me to provide you with a man who works in the film industry to, by name, publicly confirm that idiotic and insidious sexism, heavy male bias and double-standards in the industry result in discrimination against women? btw there are MANY articles available, if you bother to do some research, wherein women directors, producers and actresses etc stick their necks out to discuss and speak out publicly about the deeply entrenched male bias and favouritism towards male filmmakers and male stories (particularly in the last few decades or so, where the problem has gotten worse instead of better), to their professional peril. but their stories don’t count – the people who actually EXPERIENCE discrimination and double-standards at the coalface – because why exactly? they’re not trustworthy and you need a penis to confirm there’s assholery at work here, i mean bitches be crazy! do your own research, i’m not your wet nurse. it’s almost as if you don’t understand how sexism works at all.

    (and ftr i have seen a few male film-makers recently speak out publicly about sexist practices in the industry, such as dennis villeneuve relating how during development some bean counter wanted Emily blunt’s role in sicario changed to a man, and villeneuve kept it a woman’s role while saying openly that he knew it would mean getting LESS MONEY for the production. a female lead means less money to work with. does it get any clearer than that, the sheer idiotic sexist mentality at work here? i think there ARE men starting to speak up about this, isn’t it funny that that may be what it takes for people to actually listen and believe there’s a problem and for change to perhaps occur? it’s as if when women relate their experiences and say there’s something wrong, well they’re overreacting and untrustworthy and dismissed, but if a man says it, well my gosh these things might actually be true! it’s as if there’s a name for this paradigm….)

    – you know, us mouthy broads talk to each other; do you honestly think i’m going to write down the actual names of the many, many women in the many levels of the industry i’ve encountered over many years with horrendous tales, from film school to film-making experiences, of being underestimated, underfunded, underconsidered, undermined, harassed, and of course denied and dismissed when they speak up at great risk to their careers, not to mention the stuff i’ve seen or experienced first hand. i could fill a fucking book. but women can’t be trusted or believed – i bet this is happening right now as people read this – so maybe when a man fills a book it will be LEGIT.

    fuck the rest of it, i’m gonna go disappear into a haze of giggles in my bubble, i’m exhausted. peace out

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“What Quibi trying to do is get to the next generation of film narrative. The first generation was movies, and they were principally two-hour stories that were designed to be watched in a single sitting in a movie theater [ED: After formats like the nickelodeon]. The next generation of film narrative was television, principally designed to be watched in one-hour chapters in front of a television set. I believe the third generation of film narrative will be a merging of those two ideas, which is to tell two-hour stories in chapters that are seven to ten minutes in length. We are actually doing long-form in bite-size.”
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“The important thing is: what makes the audience interested in it? Of course, I don’t take on any roles that don’t interest me, or where I can’t find anything for myself in it. But I don’t like talking about that. If you go into a restaurant and you have been served an exquisite meal, you don’t need to know how the chef felt, or when he chose the vegetables on the market. I always feel a little like I would pull the rug out from under myself if I were to I speak about the background of my work. My explanations would come into conflict with the reason a movie is made in the first place — for the experience of the audience — and that, I would not want.
~  Christoph Waltz