Charlie’s Angels bombed. Now its lackluster director is blaming….audiences?
The heroes of Sony Pictures’ Charlie’s Angels reboot may have taken down the bad guys, but the Elizabeth Banks-directed movie failed to take down the box office. Now, an interview with Banks, who wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the new Charlie’s Angels movie, reveals where she thinks the blame rests. Speaking with The Herald Sun before the film’s November 15th release, Banks blamed at least part of her film’s potential, and then eventual, box office failure on a mix of a growing streaming culture and the sexism that exists both among audiences and those in the film industry. For Banks, battling the hurdle of, in her words, “getting people off their couches to pay a babysitter, buy dinner, buy popcorn” is tough but necessary to advance women in film. She added, “Look, people have to buy tickets to this movie, too. 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.” Banks went even further by pointing more specifically to the performance of female-led superhero franchises like DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Captain Marvel as proof of a gender gap she says exists in films and within specific genres. As she sees it, men will naturally show up more for comic book movies starring women than they would for female-led films like Charlie’s Angels reboot because the former are still within a male-focused genre. Banks stated, “They’ll go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre. 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.”
Wonder Woman ultimately proved itself to be a worthy watch for both male and female viewers, earning $821 million worldwide at the box office when it debuted in June 2017. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel left her mark by becoming the eighth Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and first female-led film in the MCU’s 11-year history to earn more than $1 billion at the box office. The Charlie’s Angels director and actress did take the time to clarify her statement, noting, “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. The power is in the money.” The Sony action-comedy cost somewhere between $48 million and $55 million to make, but made only $27.9 million worldwide during its opening weekend. Domestically, it earned an abysmal $8.6 million, lower than the studio’s conservative box office estimations, which predicted around $10 million in first-weekend stateside earnings. In a separate interview with The Wall Street Journal, Banks somewhat piggy-backed off her superhero statements to The Herald Sun by going for another significant, but this time, male-led, Marvel franchise. She pointed out, “You’ve had 37 Spider-Man movies, and you’re not complaining! I think women are allowed to have one or two action franchises every 17 years, I feel totally fine with that.” Still, as Banks chalks her film’s poor performance up to gender disparities, other industry experts are turning to a different issue, one that might mean more problems ahead for studios with long-standing, big-budget franchises. Charlie’s Angels is just one of several reboots and franchise extensions that have delivered way below box office expectations recently. Terminator: Dark Fate suffered an insane failure during its opening weekend earlier in November. Films like Hellboy, Men in Black: International, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters are also among the biggest box office flops of 2019. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, the flop of Charlie’s Angels may be a combination of franchise fatigue and overblown financial expectations. If it’s any consolation, Banks was able to make a film that had women leading it both in front of and behind the camera, and that’s a win no matter which way you look at it. Watch the video to learn how Elizabeth Banks Unleashes Blame For Charlie’s Angels Bombing!