In case you hadn't noticed, all Hades broke loose this weekend, and it wasn't caused by a random tweet. At least, not this time.
Rather, it came from the spectacular launch of the new DC Comic, Warner Brothers collaboration, Wonder Woman. This movie is all the rage on social media and RottenTomatoes, and the effusive praise coming from all directions is well earned.
With its charismatic star, Gal Gadot, and excellent supporting cast, the movie is a wonderful adventure, appropriate for viewers of all ages. Even more important to DC and Warner Brothers, it reverses a recent trend of expensive superhero movies which have significantly under-performed. Movies such as Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Wonder Woman, for its part, has over-performed both in ratings and in box office receipts. In its opening weekend, Wonder Woman earned over $250 million dollars worldwide, over $100 million of which was earned in the US. Which means, not only is the movie a spectacular success, it broke several records along the way; including being the first superhero movie with a female lead, the first superhero movie with a woman directing, and the most money spent on a movie led by a woman director. Patty Jenkins, the director of the movie, will undoubtedly be tapped for planned sequels.
Executives in Hollywood must be beaming with the pride of their accomplishments. The question is, why?
Or perhaps a better question is, what took them so long? After all, Hollywood seems to enjoy chiding everyone else when it comes to issues of equality. So, after preaching for decades the need to give women equal standing in this society, why are we just now seeing these firsts?
Wonder Woman, which will almost certainly exceed the billion dollar mark when all is said and done, is a runaway success. So what does this say about audiences? Simply that viewers were more than happy to watch movies with female directors and women in lead roles, no matter what genre! The glass ceiling that we all hope is now shattered was not one imposed by audiences in America or Europe, it was imposed by studio executives who lag culturally behind society in general. And there's no excuse for it!
This is an example, yet again, of Hollywood hypocrisy.
Let's hope, with the success of Wonder Woman, with it's newly minted success stories in Gadot and Jenkins, studio executives will rethink some of their assumptions about what works and does not work in the superhero movie business. The beauty of this genre is its potential to reach audiences well beyond traditional comic book fans. Wonder Woman is a perfect example, and beyond a doubt, this is the beginning of a great new superhero franchise.
Let's hope it's the beginning of a better, more equitable trend in Hollywood as well.