‘Maleficent’ Proves Female Blockbusters AREN’T Just A Fluke


Maleficent ain’t messin’ around y’all!

Remember in 2013 how ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire‘ was the highest grossing film of the year, beating out ‘Iron Man 3’ and the ‘Thor: The Dark World’ movies? Remember how it was a female lead character in that movie?

And remember how Cate Blanchett said in an acceptance speech at this year’s Oscars how audiences want to see women in film?

Turns out she wasn’t pulling that one out of her ass, but straight outta the minds of movie-goers everywhere.

Added to that above pack of awesome facts, is ‘Gravity’ which in October 2013, grossed $55 million in its opening weekend, making it the biggest film in any October ever. This little ditty of an (7-time Oscar-winning) film also features a female lead (Sandra Bullock) who barely wears makeup throughout the entire feature. Two facts which make it a huge step forward in the diverse representation of women in film.

For those film lovers who thought these few films were just an anomaly, which some Hollywood insiders are calling them (as well as the huge success of female-lead films like ‘The Heat’ and ‘Bridesmaids’) they couldn’t be more wrong, and blind to the change that is happening with audiences.

One film would be a fluke, but when it continues to happen, break records and make bank, it looks an awful lot like a big trend that needs to be paid attention to. For far too long we have been used to seeing men dominate every lead role in every film, and now that a change is happening, audiences are loving this refreshing change of pace and display on screen. It turns out women CAN play more than just the love interest or the mother (duh…).

A film featuring not one, but TWO female leads is Disney’s animated Oscar-winning film ‘Frozen’, which has proven to be so ridiculously popular and continues to sell tickets worldwide. In May it officially became the 5th highest grossing film of ALL TIME, pulling in $1.219 billion worldwide. And that’s not the fifth highest grossing animated film, in case you were wondering about that. It also becomes the second highest grossing film ever for Disney, behind ‘The Avengers’ which is also the third highest grossing film in the world.

In Japan, meanwhile, “Frozen” has ranked No. 1 at the weekend box office for eleven straight weeks and stands as the third-highest grossing Western film there ever. Japan was the second highest market share of the audience for ‘Frozen’, behind the Unites States.


These are not made up facts people! These billions go a long way to showing Hollywood studio execs that female-centric stories, regardless of whether a man is involved or not, has the potential to be a huge earner and a cult hit.

Another Disney film just released was ‘Maleficent’. starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, a young actress who doesn’t believe a female character has to depend on a male love interest to be interesting in a film. Yeah feminism!

In its opening weekend, the Snow White re-do made $70 million in the US, and $100 million elsewhere. It was predicted to make $60 million in the US, so the actual figures are already an indicator of what we are most likely going to see from this femme-focused film. Obviously having one half of Brangelina in a film is bound to draw butts on seats, but mostly it’s a nod to an actress who has proven time and time again that women in lead roles are a drawing point for audiences against men.

Some critics are calling this success of Maleficent so far just a movie riding the “coattails” of ‘Frozen’, but MTV News is suggesting that the film industry needs to open its eyes and stop making excuses for not green-lighting more women-centric films. They cite the example of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ which is performing extremely well at the box office, even though that last ‘Wolverine’ film didn’t do so well. MTV News’ Alex Zalben says perhaps it is doing so well because of the presence of A-lister and new girl on the block Jennifer Lawrence, rather than any of the men we have already seen in this franchise like High Jackman, Sir Ian Mckellan and Patrick Stewart. He has a great point!

“This is the lesson Hollywood needs to learn: women are half of the world’s population. It’s not like they’re a fluke. So can we get over ourselves, dudes? Women are leading movies, they’re successful, and they’re here to stay. Let’s stop calling it a trend, and call it what it is: the world righting itself,” said Alex.

“People like to watch movies they want to see, and sometimes those movies can, and should, star women.”

Yes, and Yes.

If you agree that this is not just a passing phase and enjoy watching complex male AND female characters in a film, then let’s all do our part in helping this trend continue. We as the audience members should be wielding our power to influence Hollywood studio execs in terms of what we want to see in a film.

Pay to see the films starring, produced-by, directed-by, and written-by women, wherever possible. Support them and tell your social network. Let’s be honest, you’d have to be the freaking Tin Man to not enjoy ‘Frozen’ or ‘Maleficent’!

For us it is a no-brainer. And of course a little bit of that good ol’ Disney Magic.



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