The Charlie's Angels reboot hit theaters this past weekend and while reboots have become a mainstay of media over the past several years, fresh takes on old favorites don't always stack up well at the box office -- and that includes Charlie's Angels. The Elizabeth Banks-directed film flopped at the box office having underperformed an already low opening box office estimate and while there are a number of reasons why the film didn't exactly make the debut those involved hoped it would, in an interview given before the film's release suggested that not only would a box office failure reinforce sexist Hollywood stereotypes, but went further and noted the success of female-led comic book films could be attributed to the "male genre" they belong to.
In an interview with Herald Sun (via IndieWire) Banks, who not only directed but wrote, produced, and stars in Charlie's Angels as Bosley explained that people needed to get out and see the film because a low box office performance would just feed the idea that men don't go to action films featuring women -- thus reinforcing a sexist stereotype.
"Look, people have to buy tickets to this movie, too," Banks said. "This movie has to make money. If this movie doesn't make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don't go see women do action movies."
While one could counter her claim by pointing to the box office successes of both Marvel's Captain Marvel ($1.13 billion worldwide) and DC's Wonder Woman ($821 million worldwide) Banks was quick to note that even though those films centered around female characters, they are still part of the larger comic book genre which, generally is seen as "male," especially in that those female-led movies are just set up to more male dominated films.
"They'll go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that's a male genre," Banks said. "So even though those are movies about women, they put them in the context of feeding the larger comic book world, so it's all about, yes, you're watching a Wonder Woman movie but we're setting up three other characters or we're setting up Justice League."
"By the way, I'm happy for those characters to have box office success, but we need more women's voices supported with money because that's the power," she continued. "The power is in the money."
To be fair, Banks may not be entirely wrong. Both Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman are parts of larger franchises whose films are dominated by male characters and the comic book industry is, historically, one more associated with male fans, creators, and characters. From that perspective, one could make the case that male moviegoers, if presented with a female-driven action film that is part of the comic book genre and one that isn't, they'll choose the comic book option. That said, one could also make the case that given the overwhelming popularity of comic book movies and franchise films more broadly is a larger factor.
And the idea of franchises being a ticket to success is something that Banks actually touched upon in an interview with the Wall Street Journal when she noted that women have a significantly smaller number of franchises that are fairly spread out.
"I think women are allowed to have one or two action franchises every 17 years -- I feel totally fine with that," she said.
If you are still on the fence about seeing the movie, ComicBook.com's Matt Aguilar did share his review for Charlie's Angels ahead of its release. You can read an excerpt of his piece here: "Charlie's Angels seeks to bring a modern sensibility to the beloved franchise without losing the lightheartedness and fun of the previous two films, and while that's not an easy feat, it more than surpasses the challenge. Elizabeth Banks is at the helm of the newest iteration of the franchise, which kicked off back in 1976 with the now-iconic television series that spawned two films in the 2000s, and she's taken key elements from both to form something that feels made for a 2019 audience but with a loving wink and nod to the franchise's past. It's a delightful combination and makes for a fun thrill-ride of a film that knows what it is and what it wants to be."
The new Charlie's Angels stars Kristen Stewart (Sabina), Naomi Scott (Elena), Ella Balinska (Jane), Noah Centineo (Langston), Elizabeth Banks (Bosley), Djimon Hounsou (Bosley), Patrick Stewart (Bosley), and Sam Claflin. You can check it out in theaters now.