Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Warner's Prez: "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead"

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I'm surprised few people are making a big deal about this yet. According to Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood, Jeff Robinov, President of Production at Warner Bros made the following decree: "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead."

The decree, which was quoted by three different producers, was made in response to the box-office failures of the Jodie Foster film The Brave One and Nicole Kidman's The Invasion. Wow. As if either of those movies were reasons to stop making movies with female leads. For starters, production on The Invasion was a total disaster. The film was taken away from the director, with parts of it being re-shot by the guy behind V for Vendetta. The exact same thing happened with Warner Bros' Exorcist prequel(s), but that didn't stop the studio from making any more horror films did it?

As for The Brave One, I couldn't get a figure on the production or marketing costs, but the vigilante-thriller grossed nearly $50 million world-wide. If the studio spent way more than that on a rather arty-looking flick by Neil "I Made The Crying Game" Jordan, that's their own fault. But if you want to join Mr. Robinov in his muddy little game of 'boys vs. girls' bean-counting, to throw his logic out the window, all you have to do is cite the world-wide gross of Death Sentence. Starring Kevin Bacon as the *audience prefered* male lead, Death Sentence was yet another vigilante thriller which came out two weeks before The Brave One did, and it only made $11 million world-wide. I enjoyed Death Sentence for the brain-damaged piece of trash-art that it was, but if I was a producer who only cared about the bottom line, I would much rather control the studio that released the Jodie Foster movie.

I'm hoping that this was just a one-off statement that doesn't mean anything. Maybe Robinov was having a bad day, or got seriously hassled by some Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts' agent, and was simply blowing some steam about actresses in general. Yes, actresses can be demanding, but if Robinov's decree was genuine, that can only mean movies will get less and less diverse. Warner Bros' 300 may have raked in tons of dough with only on female in its cast, however, it would never have done as well as it did, if every movie getting made was a total 'sausage-fest.'

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