EDITORIALS

Warner Brothers President Says No More Female Lead Characters!

by
October 8, 2007
Source: Deadline Hollywood, SlashFilm

Warner Brothers

Warner Brothers president of production Jeff Robinov just made a bold statement over the weekend: "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead." Don't you just love Hollywood when the executives make statements like that? This is absolutely baffling, I'm still not sure what to make of it. Apparently this comes on the fringe of WB's two box office "failures": The Brave One with Jodie Foster and The Invasion with Nicole Kidman, which have only made $34 million and $15 million respectively. Nikki Finke from Deadline Hollywood reports the news and claims that a number of producers have confirmed that this is a real statement, but what is this going to do for Warner Brothers?!

Personally I loved The Brave One, I thought it was a great film with an empowering lead female character. Go read Ken's review, he compares it to a superhero movie and gives it a 9.5/10 - a fantastic review for a film with a woman in the lead. Although The Invasion was terrible, the point that Nikki at Deadline Hollywood is making about Jeff Robinov's idiocy is that the executives at the studios aren't blaming their own bad choices in directors over the mistake of choosing a film that had a lead female. This is just blasphemous to hear and absolutely appalling to consider. Apparently Robinov isn't even going to read a script that has a female lead to begin with.

Just consider all the other great movies this year with female lead characters: Freedom Writers, Miss Potter, The Reaping (another Warner Brothers failure), Waitress, Hairspray, Knocked Up (partially), A Mighty Heart, An American Crime, Year of the Dog, Eagle vs Shark, and Once. Also coming up are a few more really big female lead films: Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Enchanted, Atonement, and especially Juno.

One of the most remarkable things to note out of all of Warner Brothers' failures that include a female lead are that they were all produced by Joel Silver: The Reaping, The Invasion, and The Brave One. Maybe they should kick him out as well as stop making female lead movies that start with "the" and they'll see a change. Just look at that list above of female lead films this year - I don't think a film with a female lead is a guaranteed failure, do you?

Now maybe if every film made in the last few years with a female lead was bad and still failed at the box office than maybe Warner Brothers would be making a smart business decision based on the immaturity of the nation. However all I need to do is name Kill Bill and Alien and you'll realize that just isn't the case. The problem with these films failing lies with the director, the script to begin with, and most likely Joel Silver, too. People go out to see good movies, not movies that are marketed well or have a male lead. That's just how it is and you can't put the blame on the fact that it has a female lead. Look at Million Dollar Baby, that won Best Picture and it had a female lead character!

Nikki Finke and women's rights attorney Gloria Allred are already calling for a boycott of Warner Brothers, but I don't know if I'd go that far yet. I love Warner Brothers and I love the studio, at least everyone in the publicity side. For the most part they put out great films, some of this year's best (300, Ocean's 13, Michael Clayton). It wasn't until this was brought up that I realized the difference in numbers between films with male leads and those with female leads. However, that is irrelevant considering the moronic statement made by Robinov.

What needs to be done right now is that people must be vocal - the louder the better. Spread the word, discuss amongst your friends, and make Warner Brothers realize the absolute devastation that this would bring to their studio. Make sure you digg and reddit the article, e-mail it to your friends, add it to your del.icio.us and stumble it! Have something to say as well? Sound off below.

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  • http://neoflux.com Bret
    "with an empowering lead female character" - Perhaps this is the underlying problem Seems that too often the filmmakers get wrapped up in making a certain kind of movie when they have a female lead. Does 90%of the male population really care whether the lead character is empowering to women? Do most women even care? Don't we all just want to see a good story with good acting and let the empowering role be damned. Its political pandering, and now with the 'no women leads' rule, they've gone too far over the other side.
  • Nate
    There are so many ways to prove that the female in the lead isn't neccesarily the problems with these films. It's so silly. What he's saying completely sidesteps what the real underlying issues are. The premise of "The Brave One" isn't going to cause audiences to flock to see it, whether there's a male or female lead. And "The Invasion" was almost as poorly advertised as it was made. The trailer was a deterrant! I'm with you Alex, this is just offensive. Someone hire Robinov a PR guy.
  • Sinbad
    Before anyone gets too carried away and tries to nail this guy to the cross of political correctness, lets point out that this guy probably isn't a bigot, it's just that he's an executive - a non creative person in a creative industry. He's like a shopkeeper; he sees that no-one's buying green apples, so he's only ordering red apples. Not to say that the man's not stupid, it's just more like the stupidity of Michael Eisner when he said that 2D animation was dead.
  • Sinbad
    Personally i think it's a problem with the writers, and the slightly lazy and patronizing way that they construct female leads. Nowadays audiences want emotional complexity from their heroes (just look at Daniel Craig's Sociopathic Bond, or Christian Bale's Psychopathic Batman), and compare them to any recent female leads. Part of the problem is that whereas men are free to be morally ambiguous ("Thank you for smoking", "Lord Of War") Studios are still scared of female characters that aren't positive role models. It's the difference between Antony Hopkins in "The Silence of the Lambs" (... jesus! that man would eat me) and Charleze Theron In "Monster" (aww! well, it's not really her fault). Anyway, anyone who thinks women can's lead a film these days didn't catch "The Descent" The actresses are there... the parts aren't
  • Nevin
    Anyone else think this sounds a bit too close for comfort to the President of Harvard's remarks about women in science? People are going to have a field day with this guy.
  • http://www.arkmulebarn.com Janet
    Isn't it interesting that the problem lies only with women leads while the majority of the films that are out now aren't living up to their [alleged] potential box-office wise and the latest whimpers are about how folks aren't spending money at their local theaters. As much as I enjoy Jodi Foster's work, I won't spend a penny to see her latest film. It is not a subject matter that interests me. However, some wise people at the studio thought it was such a winner they not only bought it, but paid for the production. Something tells me that the same folks who signed those checks never thought too much about Ms. Foster's audience...or any audience for that matter. There are darn few films that have any strong female parts, which is a shame, because there are quite a few very talented actresses who are quite capable of doing their job and providing product that the audience wants to see. This is nothing new, either. Nor it there anything new with attempting to dumb-down the audience because it is quicker, easier, and possibly cheaper to create garbage than to spend time and money to create quality work. Anyone can throw money at a production, the results are released almost weekly. It takes talent, discipline and integrity on every level to produce films that don't insult the audience's intelligence and are capable of making a profit.
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  • sarah
    short and sweet....he is an ignorant A**hole
  • Dave
    I personally don't care for women starring in action movies - period. I like women acting female rather than trying to match the physical actions of men. If that offends women, I'm sorry but I am just stating a fact. I like women starring in romance movies or just about anything else other than action type movies. I am hoping that this is what Mr. Robinov meant rahter than the straight across the board statement he made.
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  • Harry
    no more female leads? hell no! i guess no more Supergirl or Wonder Woman remakes like were planned
  • csr
    next thing you know, they'll announce they are no longer making movies w/black people...
  • Matt
    I'm a male but even i find this distubing personally I can think of many female leads that are great as for the invasion was'nt Daniel Craig the other lead did'nt this Jeff idiot think that he (daniel) may have been the problem? I've decided to spread the word everyone join in and boycott warner bros as what they're doing is beyond wrong.
  • nina
    well, I guess actresses are just meant to be damzels in ditress or just cinema eye candy. Really now, The invasion was not only a remake, but a remake of a remake.Can you remake a movie three times and expect people to flock to the theatres? Female lead has done more for Warner Bros. than they can ever repay, that's a lot more than we can say for Jeff Robinov. What an ass hole.
  • VideoGameNerd
    Meh, it seems sexism plays a big role in everything. If the woman is masculine, she's all butchy and unlovable. If a man is feminine, it's just plain creepy. I don't agree with either of those, of course, I'm just saying what the media believes. So no offence to any tomboys (I, myself, am a tomboy ^-^) or feminine guys intended.

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