In a link getting much play around the online water cooler, Nikki Finke reports that Warner Brothers production president Jeff Robinov has decreed “We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead.” This comes after the box office disappointment of recent films starring Jodie Foster and Nicole Kidman.

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.

Could Robinov’s MANdate may have something to do with the Wonder Woman movie stalling at WB and her shift to the team centric JLA movie?


  1. God. Why is Hollywood so full of shit? I can’t think of anything to say beyond that, except that I just saw Superman Returns and it was just a really bad movie. I also just watched Aline, and it was a really good movie.

  2. I think it has much more to do with box office realities — studios don’t know how to market movies with female leads to their assumed mostly-male audiences, they have no interest in female audiences for whatever reason (I guess our money is toxic or something?), so when their films don’t do well it’s obviously the fault of female leads. And in order to preserve his position Robinov has to be SEEN AS doing something about it. It’s too difficult, particularly with the writers’ strike looming, to get better scripts, maybe even some written by women. It’s much easier to cast blame and keep your job.

  3. I think the real problem is that Robinov wouldn’t know a great script from an awful one if it killed him. Warner Bros has made a lot of terrible movies lately (actually, they’ve ALL been terrible), and I don’t think that has anything to do with whether the lead is female or male.

  4. The reason that movies with female leads tank at the box office couldn’t be that overrated actresses are being miscast for films that have horrible scripts and are handled by incompetent, talentless directors, could it?

    (CATWOMAN, I’m looking at you…)

    Oh, and according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, SUPERMAN RETURNS took in $200 million in domestic total gross box office, which would have been fine if the production budget wasn’t $270 million (or more). BATMAN BEGINS only took in $5 million more in domestic gross but is deemed a success because it only had a production budget of $150 million.

  5. 10 years ago there was a sizeable audience for romantic comedies, which are the most commercial films with female leads.

    I think the core issue is that there aren’t any bankable stars like Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock filling that niche. Or even Drew Barrymore. Studios have tried to get the next generation of Roberts and Bullocks, but America hasn’t really warmed to them – Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Garner, etc.

    So it’s easy to see why studios don’t want to commit to something that won’t make money. Until they find that next Julia Roberts, that is.

  6. Oh, and according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, SUPERMAN RETURNS took in $200 million in domestic total gross box office, which would have been fine if the production budget wasn’t $270 million (or more). BATMAN BEGINS only took in $5 million more in domestic gross but is deemed a success because it only had a production budget of $150 million.

    Just an FYI, Superman Returns’ production budget was a little over $200 million. The “$240M budget” everyone talks about includes previous development attempts dating back all the way back to 1994. For the Singer film alone, it was something like $205M.

    WB still made a profit on Returns – it made more money worldwide than Batman Begins did – over 400 million. Factor in licensing, DVDs, etc. and you’ve still got a moneymaker on your hands. Hence the forthcoming sequel.

  7. Well, maybe they should start to make more movies that appeal to a demographic other than white teenage boys. It’s not THAT surprising that that particular group will accept a strong female character only as an exception.

  8. Well, I saw The Brave One. It was well executed, but made you want to wash your hands after seeing it. It was cold and dark and had a nasty and unforgiving core to it.

    Plus, its general theme of a female under seige and fighting back reminded me of at least 2 other Foster movies. She has appeared in Panic Room, and uh, Flight Plan(?) Maybe she needs to look for richer material.

    So, since a few recent movies didn’t do boffo box office, there are to be no more movies with female leads? Hmm. Sounds like a coup for the competition.

  9. This is Warner Brothers right? The same company that while owning DC Comics SOLD OFF THEIR BOOK DIVISION! I mean, how much can we really expect from these people.

  10. Harlequin, who primarily sells romances to women, publishes more than six dozen books per month. Some few years back, Harlequin launched the Bombshell book line, all with female action-heroine leads. “Women who kick ass” adventures, ala Jennifer Garner in the TV show “Alias”. The line didn’t do well, even though the books were above par for the romance genre (in my opinion). Harlequin closed the line last year.

    One could write a doctoral dissertation on the reasons why female action heroines are a hard sell. If you did compose such an analysis, you’d probably have to include chapters on why most Disney heroines are motherless/orphaned.

    You’d also have to define what a female hero is, the difference between and include examples… I mean, some female heroes would seem to be so alpha as to lose most of what makes the character feminine. The actress who plays Starbuck in BSG and the badass character in the new Bionic Woman show doesn’t have too much femininity attached to either character.

    The flip side to the alpha female isn’t the “Wilting Mary” but the femme fatale — great, but usually best suited for a villain role.

    The best female action hero roles are the ones where the feminine side plays a key role, and this is subject to much debate. Aliens, is usually an example everyone can relate to here. Also Shakespeare In Love to a similar extent. Several other examples here.

    I can’t address the Jodi Foster movies mentioned above, but isn’t the plot on most of those, “Everyone might think I’m a ‘Wilting Mary’ but I’ll show you I’m not!!” ?

    I definitely can’t comment on Wonder Woman, because my only exposure was the Lynda Carter TV series, and that left me a changed boy… If Superman detractors just refer to him as a superpowered Boy Scout, is Wonder Woman a superpowered Girl Scout, or is there something else I’m missing?

  11. For last years Hollywood is really full of shit… Because of the comment is written, I can’t say more. But 5-6 hard promoted and in the same time bad movies per year become a standard.