Oops, it seems Hollywood’s stubborn refusal to cater to female movie-goers may be hurting the bottom line. Summer box office numbers are way down–resulting in a 20 percent decline in revenue in North America–this year, and it could be because Hollywood is still making crap targeted at the long-coveted young dude demographic when they’re going to the theater less and women have become a more reliable audience.
According to data from the Motion Picture Association of America, the young male demographic that most big Hollywood movies are aimed at is making fewer trips to the theater and hurting box-office totals. Who is spending money at the movies? Women, and movies aimed at women are reaping the benefits. So, you know, any time you want to get on that Black Widow movie, Marvel…
Not only does the data show that young people in general are going to the theater less with the largest drop (17%) occurring in the sought-after 18 to 25 demographic, but it indicates that movies that skew toward a male audience are performing worse than ever. That’s a big problem for Hollywood, considering that their male-oriented franchises seem to be garnering less female viewers than ever, too.
As Dan Van Winkle at The Mary Sue asks, “Could [women] be tired of seeing white dudes save the world?” I mean, I love me some Spiderman and plenty of women enjoy action/superhero films, but there’s no denying it’s getting old seeing tired iterations of essentially the same kind of mediocre, Bechdel test-failing flick over and over again. As the success of movies like Frozen, Maleficent, and The Fault in Our Stars shows, we’re hungry for something new.
It’s long past time that movie execs stop claiming their sexism is just about risk at the box office when it’s clearly not–and hand over the reins to the talented female directors, writers, and actresses who aren’t being fully utilized.
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.