Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Warner Brothers says No More Women in Lead Roles

This is the transcript of the article that generated all the buzz that rapidly jumped into mainstream media. I heard it first in the morning American news, but now Internet is swamp with all type of comments.

“Nikki Finke’s Hollywood Deadline Daily

Warner's Robinov Bitchslaps Film Women; Gloria Allred Calls For Warner's Boycott

This comes to me from three different producers, so I know it's real: Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree that "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead". This Neanderthal thinking comes after both Jodie Foster's The Brave One (even though she's had big recent hits with Flightplan and Panic Room) and Nicole Kidman's The Invasion (as if three different directors didn't have something to do with the awfulness of the gross receipts) under-performed at the box office recently. "Can you imagine when Gloria Allred gets hold of this? It's going to be like World War III," one producer just told me. (I put in a call to Glo, who comments below.) Of course, Warner Bros has always been male-centric in its movies. But now the official policy as expressly articulated by Robinov is that a male has to be the lead of every pic made. I'm told he doesn't even want to see a script with a woman in the primary position (which now is apparently missionary at WB). Oh yeah, the fact that so many Warner Bros movies have been sucking at the box office for the last two years is all the fault of females. (Then again, Robinov's poorly performing Superman Returns was criticized for its girlie-man portrayal of the superhero.) As regular readers of my own box office reports know, chick flicks haven't been doing well at the box office lately. But Robinov's statements aren't about women's movies as a genre, they're anti Hollywood actresses. Besides, neither The Brave One nor The Invasion were classic chick flicks, either. "It's a phenomenal thing to say. What are we in the 1700s where women are back to being barefoot and pregnant?" a producer railed. "What's next -- fire all the Warner Bros women executives?"

UPDATE: Noted women's rights attorney Gloria Allred just gave me this statement in response to what I've posted above: "If that's what he said, when movies with men as the lead fail, no one says we'll stop making movies with men in the lead. This is an insult to all moviegoers and particularly women. It is truly unfortunate that women get blamed for decisions which are made by men. Instead of taking responsibility for their own lack of judgment about which scripts to make, directors to hire and budgets to OK, some men in the movie industry find it easier to place blame for their lack of success on women leads and to exclude talented female actors from the top employment opportunities in Hollywood in favor of macho males. If that studio confirms that their policy is to now exclude women as leads, then my policy would be to boycott films made by Warner Bros.”

Yeah, they had a lot of flops during the last two years and now they are blaming women leads… hmm, yes like Superman Returns? He he. Wish they would do the same for all the male leads flops… but, then there will no Warner Bros anymore, which is not a bad idea, isn’t?

But there is more to this than boycotting Warner movies, is Hollywood that does so many bad movies with some becoming box office hits with teenagers. They have to remember that good Hollywood films are seen by all ages and genders and also become box office hits.

Still, other major studios do believe in women in leads and they do extremely good movies that make major bucks, like the Devil Wears Prada that went above the 100 Million mark.

Of course Warner is denying everything, but the buzz about sexism, female discrimination, America is a male oriented society, etc. has been raised and well, even if is nothing new, perhaps this time will go a little bit further and women in Hollywood will start to get more and better opportunities as directors and screenplay writers; we have to remember that good roles come from good stories, good characters and good directors.

I hope this time something happens to improve the lack of balance for women in the American society.

Still, I am not that much worried as the rest of the world has magnificent movies with women leads, women directing, women writing screenplays and making good profits for those studios that do not have high executives from the Neanderthal era.

Maybe the saddest part of this story is that the Wonder Woman project will be buried for a while, until smart studios buy the project from Warner.

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