By Josh Williams & Matt Neglia
2017 is slowly but surely becoming a year conquered by women. Not only are there films coming out led by women but there are also films with women behind the camera. And it’s accurate to say that these films are some of the best to release this year. Now it’s also accurate to say that we are nowhere near where we should be in terms of women representation in cinema, but it certainly feels like we are taking small steps in the right direction. Again we are nowhere near where we should be but with films like “Wonder Woman,” “Lady Bird,” “Detroit” and “The Beguiled” it seems like Hollywood is moving in the right direction.
If this trend continues we can easily continue to receive some fantastic films. Hollywood still has yet to come to this realization that women-led and women-made films perform incredibly well, financially. “Wonder Woman” has made $412,038,809 dollars domestically and $820,438,809 worldwide. Comparatively, “Logan” has only made $226,277,068 domestically and $616,802,820 worldwide. “Logan” is a beloved film by many but in terms of this topic, a woman-led and woman-headed film made almost double what a man-led and man-headed film has made. So the argument cannot really be made that woman-led films do not make money because the numbers do not lie.
But in 2017 we have seen several female films as I mentioned earlier. We’ve had action (“Wonder Woman“), we’ve had comedy (“Girls Trip”), we’ve had horror (“Raw“), we’re getting drama (“Lady Bird” & “A United Kingdom“). And this year we’re getting something we haven’t gotten in quite a while, a female-led sports film. “Battle Of The Sexes” released on September 22nd and it is receiving quite a bit of buzz. The movie stars Emma Stone and Steve Carrel in a biopic about a tennis match between the current tennis champion in 1973, Billie Jean King and the ex-champion Bobby Riggs. The film is directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Feris who also directed “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Ruby Sparks.”
It’s been quite some time since we have received a female fronted sports movie. With the current trend we’re seeing of women films doing incredibly well, it would be incredibly exciting to see more and more women sports films surfacing within the next few years. “Battle Of The Sexes” is an incredibly made film and we hope that it rakes in all of the money at the box office. But it does raise a question: how come we haven’t been receiving more female sports movies over the years?
The answer is simple: the representation of women in Hollywood is not even remotely close to where it should be. The box office has been proving that these films can pull in quite a bit of money and if “Battle Of The Sexes” does incredibly well at the box office there is no argument for NOT having more female sports movies or just female-fronted films in general. Cinema is something that MUST be diverse, not only in race but in gender as well. If cinema is always told from the same point of view, it gets boring. Has anyone stopped to wonder why the summer blockbuster scene was so “boring” this year? Formula and predictability. Audiences are hungry for something different. Give it to them!
“Moonlight” was able to break doors down because of its success at last year’s Oscars. One would hope that more films dealing with the gay and black experience are being made as a result. We have seen that “Wonder Woman 2” has been greenlit with Patty Jenkins set to return as director. We are no longer the society we once were in 1973. However, we need to still break down a lot of barriers which still exist today, if we are going to have a fair and balanced marketplace of films that represent all. “Battle Of The Sexes” is the best female-led sports film since “A League Of Their Own” and “Million Dollar Baby.” However, when the comparison is being made against movies that are more than a decade older than the one that is coming out today, something is wrong. “Battle Of The Sexes” proves that the sports world is not just a man’s world, so why does the film world have to be one?
Cinema is meant to represent different viewpoints and different cultural approaches to traditional stories. Hollywood has all of the evidence in their hands now, proving that women-fronted films can receive the box office numbers and critically acclaimed success to have long shelf lives, ensuring further success for the studios. It is in their best interest to keep churning these films out and to not make such a big deal about it in the process. This should be commonplace, not a rarity. We’re getting there, but the scale is still tipped in favor of one side over the other. Now, once again, the ball is in their court.
You can follow Matt & Josh and hear more of their thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture & @josh_williams09