Box Office Guru Wrapup: Brave Hits the Bullseye

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter round out the top three.


This weekend, princess power ruled the North American box office as Disney and Pixar's Brave opened at number one setting a new record for the biggest debut ever for an animated film centered around a female character. The weekend's other new releases were not met with as much enthusiasm as the stylish action thriller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter premiered in third place with moderate numbers while Steve Carell's Seeking A Friend for the End of the World was dead on arrival in tenth place. The overall marketplace was down again from a year ago when Pixar also reigned supreme.

Moms, daughters, and others lined up for Brave which shot straight to the top with an estimated $66.7M to easily command first place more than tripling the gross of its nearest competitor. The PG-rated 3D toon averaged a muscular $16,028 from 4,164 theaters in what was the widest debut ever for Pixar which continued its perfect streak of number one openings for all thirteen of its films dating back to 1995's ground-breaking hit Toy Story. Brave's performance was virtually identical to the debut of the company's Cars 2 this weekend last year which bowed to $66.1M from slightly fewer locations for a similar average. However, the Scottish princess pic was not a sequel and did not have as huge of a merchandising empire behind it.

Brave managed to beat the $60.3M debut of Madagascar 3 from rival DreamWorks Animation from earlier this month, but did not match the $70.2M of March's The Lorax from Universal. All were 3D toons. Reviews for Pixar's latest were good, but not as glowing as those for recent offerings like Toy Story 3, Up, and WALL-E. Still despite that, and the fact that the story skewed more towards girls, Brave broke the $60M mark on opening weekend like eight of the last nine Pixar films have done. And it beat the $48.8M of Disney's Tangled to post the best debut ever for a female-centric toon. The take also rose higher than the $43.7M of 2010's How To Train Your Dragon which was also set in medieval Scotland.

Brave kicked off its weekend with a $24.5M opening day on Friday and then slipped 4% on Saturday to $23.5M with Sunday estimated to drop 21% to $18.7M. Last year this weekend with the same calendar, Cars 2 dipped 9% on Saturday and then 27% on Sunday. But Brave has been liked more as its grade from CinemaScore was a glowing A compared to the A- that the Lightning McQueen sequel earned. Females made up 57% of the audience for Brave which was on par with the 56% for this month's Madagascar.

But one trouble spot was with 3D, and those willing to pay extra for the experience. A very low 34% of Brave's gross came from those screens. By comparison, 3D shares for other toons include 40% for Cars 2, 45% for Kung Fu Panda 2, 45% for Madagascar 3, and 51% for Puss in Boots. Even the Pixar brand is not strong enough to prompt a large number of parents to shell out extra for what has now become an ordinary experience. Still, the long-term outlook seems bright. With most kids out of school now, Brave will attract solid mid-week business and with little competition next weekend and promising audience buzz a solid sophomore session could result followed by the Independence Day holiday after that which will keep numbers strong going into the third weekend.

Most markets overseas will open Brave in July and August however the year's second teen girl archery star debuted in ten territories this weekend with $13.5M for a global weekend of $80.2M.

Despite facing the worst possible new competitor, two-time box office champ Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted held up miraculously well dropping only 41% to second place with an estimated $20.2M. Paramount has now collected a stellar $157.6M over 17 days for the DreamWorks Animation sequel and looks on course to break the $200M mark - a level the studio's 2011 toons never reached. It will become the top-grossing installment in the series, although higher 3D prices will contribute to the feat. The fact that the talking zoo animals enjoyed such a low decline against the arrival of Pixar's latest treat speaks to how well-liked it is with families and how strong the kidpic marketplace is right now with most children starting their summer vacations. Plus, Madagascar's appeal is not skewed towards one gender making it a boy-friendly alternative to Brave. Overseas saw an impressive $30.1M frame lifting the international total to $208.4M for $365.9M worldwide.

The period action-horror thriller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter debuted in third place with an estimated $16.5M. The R-rated mashup pic offering an alternate take on presidential history averaged a decent $5,309 from 3,108 locations with 3D contributing extra surcharges. As expected, adult men made up the core audience with the breakdown being 56% male and 53% 25 and older. But critics and moviegoers were equally unimpressed with the stylish monster movie as reviews were mostly bad and the CinemaScore grade was a lackluster C+. Saturday sales dipped 10% indicating a rough road ahead. With major EuroCup matches going on overseas distracting bloodthirsty males, Lincoln opened in just a few international markets grossing $8.1M from 17 markets led by $3.9M from director Timur Bekmambetov's Russia and $1.6M from the United Kingdom where it ranked number one.

Sci-fi epic Prometheus fell 52% to an estimated $10M in its third mission to boost Fox's total to $108.5M. The Ridley Scott film also captured $12.7M overseas this weekend to raise its international sum to $152.9M putting the global tally at $261.4M. A pair of period pics tied for fifth place with an estimated $8M a piece. Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman dropped 40% and has amassed $137.1M to date while the Warner Bros. musical Rock of Ages declined by a reasonable 45% in its second round for a modest $28.8M in ten days. Look for a $45-50M final.

Fellow sophomore That's My Boy starring Adam Sandler held up well sliding only 41% to an estimated $7.9M putting it a hair behind the other two. Sony has banked $28.2M and is headed to a $45-50M finish making for the comedian's worst gross for a broad comedy since 2000's Little Nicky. Since jumping to the A-list in 1998, Sandler has never had back-to-back broad comedies fail to top $100M. He will now have that with Boy following last November's Jack and Jill which grossed $74.2M. On the other hand, he could be setting himself up to sweep the Razzies over two consecutive years.

Iron Man and pals came within striking distance of the $600M domestic mark this weekend thanks to a sensational hold for The Avengers in its eighth round. The all-star super hero mega-pak slipped only 21% to an estimated $7M boosting the cume to $598.3M and is on track to surpass its next milestone as early as Tuesday. The Disney smash will become the first non-James Cameron film to ever smash the $600M barrier. Avengers raised its overseas take to a towering 837.9$M and its global treasure to $1.44 billion with Japan still to open in August.

Sony's summer tentpole Men in Black 3 fell 44% to an estimated $5.6M for $163.3M to date. A final of $175-180M seems likely. International audiences pushed the overseas total up to $414M for a worldwide haul of $577.3M making it the year's third largest global grosser after Avengers and The Hunger Games.

Audiences rejected Steve Carell's latest film Seeking A Friend for the End of the World which barely made the top ten with its estimated $3.8M debut. Playing in 1,625 locations, the Focus release averaged a pitiful $2,361 and generated zero excitement with its target audience of upscale adults. Plus with arthouse hits from Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, and Shakespeare in Love's John Madden already satisfying this exact same audience, there was no room for another option. The audience was 56% female and 56% over 35 with the CinemaScore being a disappointing C+. In addition, reviews for Seeking were only mixed and not impressive enough to win over crowds. The darkly comic doomsday story failed to pull in Carell's mainstream comedy fans.

Woody Allen scored another summer comedy hit aimed at sophisticated adults with his latest effort To Rome With Love which debuted in only five theaters but grossed an estimated $379,000 for a spectacular $75,874 average. The Sony Classics release did not reach the $99,834 opening weekend average of the director's Midnight in Paris from a year ago but it was still a sizzling start for what could be a long-lasting hit. Reviews for Rome were mixed and not as stellar as those for last summer's Oscar-winning Paris but fans in New York and Los Angeles still came out for the Woody Allen brand. How it plays in the rest of the country will be seen in the weeks ahead. Starring Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz and others, Rome expands on Friday into a handful of additional major markets before going nationwide on July 6.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $153.8M which was down 7% from last year when Cars 2 opened at number one with $66.1M; but even with 2010 when Toy Story 3 remained on top with $59.3M in its second weekend.

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Comments

Heather Griffiths

Heather Griffiths

I don't get the girl versus boy thing (Brave). If it's a kick ass hero, who cares what gender? Are boys really going to tell Mom and Dad "Nah, I don't want to see this movie because it stars a girl"?

Jun 24 - 03:46 PM

Isaac

Isaac H

I agree completely. All of the other Pixar films have appealed heavily to both genders despite starring male protagonists. I don't see why people keep calling Brave a "girl movie", as it's about a tough-as-nails Scottish princess and a seemingly-demonic bear. It's actually one of the darkest, most frightening films in Pixar's filmography. Really don't see how it's a "girl movie", outside of the fact that it stars someone female.

Jun 24 - 05:12 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

The depressing thing about this phenomenon is that it's very common in school age boys, who are trying their best to draw the line in the sand VERY CLEARLY that they are NOT girls, and therefore shun anything that is not explicitly marketed to them. My mother is an early childhood specialist with over 20 years experience with children in a classroom setting, and the girls would readily listen to stories about boys, but the boys would immediately glaze over when she tried to read them a story with a girl hero.

Adult males aren't nearly as picky about their protagonists, but yes, this is a real thing, and its a gender discriminatory oversight that we need to call attention to, because we can't nurture this sort of prejudice in our kids. Not in this century.

Jun 24 - 10:09 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

So your mad that adolescent boys (what, age 6 to 11) are gender discriminatory? Really? Are we really going to put our foot down about tree houses saying no girls allowed? That boys HAVE to have tea parties with their stuffed animals? Its natural for young males to act this way. I would be willing to bet that males have acted this way since the beginning of our species. And females mature sooner than boys, which would make them more accepting of characters and stories regarding either gender. Now if you had evidence that a young males rejection of effeminate subject matter leads to some kind of misogynistic mind set then I would think you have a point but with out it your point is very lame.

Jun 25 - 12:47 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

I'm not sure what post you read, but my implication is that strong female leads are needed in more abundance in entertainment marketed at children, so that boys become more accustomed to seeing them, and can't indulge as readily in dismissing them as "not relateable". And I don't mean token-tomboy-in-a-group-of-guys visibility either, that's pretty much worthless. Both sexes are healthier if they can relate to the opposite sex. Girls aren't the only sex magically, mysteriously capable of empathy.

And FYI, "no girls allowed" clubhouses haven't been a thing for a while. How old are you? When I was a kid in the 80's and early 90's, we didn't have gender-based club houses, nor cooties, nor any of those other traditional trappings of all-American gender discrimination. Then again, I was born in a climate after feminism was A Thing.

Jun 25 - 08:34 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

So we should force female leads into stories JUST so young males can get used to it? This is idiotic and unnecessary because, as you stated, lack of interest in female characters is something that most males grow out of. My point (including the tree house reference) is that we are talking about adolescent boys. Young children. Minds still developing. They're going to think this way regardless of how many female characters you shove in front of them. They're still going to want Optimus Prime and Darth Vader toys and its OK. Most will learn to appreciate female leads and heroes as they mature (LIKE YOU STATED). I would be willing to stand behind mandatory Ripley viewings a la Alien and Aliens from grade 3 to 6. Shes such a badass and likes kids!

Jun 25 - 10:54 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

"Force"? You just confirmed my theory that males are thought of as the norm in stories, and females are thought of as the deviation from that norm. Can you really not see how closed-minded that sounds?

My point still stands about the need for more visibility for female leads. Why? Because male audiences are only more amiable to the idea of a female protagonist as a direct result of entertainers' efforts over the past thirty years to focus on females in a less sexist way. The catalog of good, solid, female leads is still really paltry compared to well-rounded male characters, but there's been more effort to -- oh, God, can't believe I need to phrase it this way -- "humanize" females in the eyes of movie-going audiences since the 1970's. "Bridesmaids" could not have been made during the WWII era, for example. Different generations have different attitudes about things, based on what they're shown to be "normal". It's a chicken-and-egg scenario. We -- women, that is -- are still woefully underrepresented in media.

Look, whether or not you disagree with me about what's "natural" for young boys to gravitate towards, what my argument really comes down to is this: do you think that it is advantageous to have either 1.) the same, or 2.) fewer female protagonists in films that are aimed not only at adults, but children? If so, why?

Jun 25 - 11:27 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Avery, your points could maybe go down better without the shrillness. There have been a number of recent advances in female protagonists, and the situation seems to be improving, and not such a dire situation as you paint it. The success of "Alice in Wonderland" is one thing, the critical recognition of the ultra-feminist "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is another. But I was amused with this, your take on the "trappings of the all-American gender discrimination". Yes, because our society is much harsher on females than South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and don't forget that our social values are still largely inherited from Europe (where a great deal of the international sex traffic is still conducted). But, yeah, America sucks, don't it?

Jun 25 - 02:19 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

Actually, Janson, you guys are the ones sounding like zealots to me. I've been nothing but levelheaded throughout this entire exchange, so the "shrillness" that you are interpreting me to be screeching my arguments with is pretty invalid. I didn't say that the situation for female protagonists isn't improving; the very fact that we are having this conversation on a mainstream forum means that the issue is at least in the public zeitgeist whereas people wouldn't have even considered it a problem years ago. It also doesn't change the fact that women are still underrepresented in media. THAT WAS MY ENTIRE POINT. This argument was never about how patriarchy has "failed women in the first world", or whatever you're trying to strawman, it was always about visibility of female protagonists vs. male protagonists.

You want to play a fun game? Go to Box Office Mojo right now, and go to the final stats for each year of the past decade.

You there? Okay, now look at the top ten grossing films for each year, 2010, 2009, 2008... You can even do the top 20, or 30, or all 100 for each year if you like, but cutting it down to the top 10 is a just little quicker to tabulate.

Okay: now, how many in the top ten grossing movies each year have prominently featured female protagonists? You're going to come across some "couple movies", which feature a man and a woman sharing the spotlight, and ensemble casts (primarily animated and super hero films), but you can disregard those for the sake of this particular argument.

Staring to see a trend? I'm insulted that women only account for 1/10th of the totals, and that number is apparently supposed to be good enough for me to not notice the discrepancy.

Jun 25 - 02:56 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Sure, I'll play. But first I should point out that, beyond gender, ANY 3 dimensional characters are rather slim pickings from the major studios, but, OK let's stick with the femmes.

This year - Hunger Games, Snow White/Huntsman, The Vow - true the second two may be knocked out by year's end, but at least replaced by Brave.

2011 - Twilight, and The Help and Bridesmaids are right outside the top ten (but neither one was a very good film, and doing women no favors)

2010 - Alice in Wonderland, Twilight, Tangled

2009 - Twilight, Blind Side

2008 - Twilight with Sex and the City and Momma Mia just outside the top ten.

If you want to complain about the quality of female roles, that would be one thing. If you think more women should go to the theater, or even be more discriminating what they see, that would be another. One reason fanboys are catered to is because they're a faithful and reliable box office draw. But there are a number of quality female films every year that get ignored at the box office. Last year alone, you had "Margaret", "Martha Marcy May Marlene", "Jane Eyre", "Hanna", "Soul Surfer", "Another Earth", "Melancholia", "Certified Copy", "Pariah" and "Meek's Cutoff". There are choices available and Hollywood will only respond to money, unfortunately. Your anger should be aimed at the poor quality of formulaic "chick flicks" with such Cosmo pretty girls like Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Reece Witherspoon or Anne Hathaway (One Day and Love and Other Drugs are among the worst of the genre, imo) than going after fanboys who are buying tickets to what they want to see.

Jun 25 - 03:21 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

Fair enough on the lack of 3-dimensions observation... If there's anything I'd like to see more than an increased influx of estrogen, it's simply an uptick in well-written and accessible characters, be they male OR female. Of course, as you've pointed out, this is an industry first and foremost, and depth is not always profitable, so I'm not going to hold my breath on that.

As for your tallying of the films on Box Office Mojo, I am iffy on the counting of "Twilight" as a female-helmed series, when the entire draw of these films is supposedly the main girl's relationship with the vampire guy, qualifying this franchise as a series of "couple films" to me. And "Blind Side" was just as much about the teenage football player as it was about the sassy Southern homemaker, which probably puts it more in the ensemble camp. Even so, when you include these debatable titles to your final score, your total still falls well short behind the final tally of male protagonists. To an embarrassing degree, really. (And don't get me started on how much female protagonists' conflicts tend to hinge on romance as a key element to their development, whereas males are freed from such expectations)

Seriously, this was ALWAYS the heart of my argument, and now matter how much you keep insisting that I should be happy with these numbers, I can't be. Because I shouldn't HAVE to be. I know discrimination when I see it. I actually did a study on audience attitudes to male and female protagonists in one of my sociology courses in college as my final, and my professor asked for my permission to publish it (although I never did). I'm not trying to toot my own horn, I'm just letting you know that my beliefs aren't stemming from an emotional place; I've actually attempted to quantify this phenomenon before. It was really interesting, but also pretty disheartening if you're a girl.

Hollywood is still run by rich, white males, and they make the movies that they want to make, and insist that any deviation from the status quo is "too risky". You think women are the only group this mentality affects? What about racial groups? What about films that take place in other countries and star people FROM said countries? Hollywood's got tunnel vision, and they consistently opt to put white males ahead of the curve, AT LEAST 50% of the time.

And I don't even care about the quality of the female protagonists. There are more sh-tty male protagonists in the annals of film history than there are brilliant ones, and it should be no different for female roles. They can't all be Ripley (who I agree is a stellar example of a well-rounded female hero, BUT! Fun fact that you probably already know: she was originally written as a male character!). Quality in female characters is important, but if we're ever going to achieve the equal footing people have insisted we've had all along, you've also got to strive for quantity. I've seen more than one review of "Brave" in which the critic laments that Princess Merida didn't "do anything significant for women in film", which is a totally unfair standard. We don't ask for every male role to redefine what it means to be a man...

Jun 25 - 06:36 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

We're disagreeing less than you may think. I'm disagreeing more with the strategy of your argument than with the result you'd like to see. Obviously anyone who refuses to see a film with a strong female protagonist is a moron, and there have been several comments saying just that. But the problem as I see it is in the absence of female roles that don't fall into stereotype. I brought up the list of quality women's movies, because the only way to truly combat the status quo is to do it commercially - by refusing to buy tickets for these films and supporting smaller films instead. It doesn't seem to do any good to put more women in movies if all they're doing are reinforcing the same stereotypes that keep them in these subservient roles. I personally think Brave is positive sign that things are changing for the better.

Jun 25 - 07:03 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

^ This. Jansen made my point with the statement " the strategy of your argument". I know what your saying man (Avery). But the fact is its a losing battle. Your fighting genetics, IMO. You can't force children to think or behave a certain way. We have seen the negative results. Both with children conforming to their forced regiment and/or resisting it. Plus your doing a disservice to the art by incorporating aspects that are only there to make up a possible minority gap. I believe you create more of a rift between two parties by MAKING them accept each other.

Jun 25 - 10:20 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

Don't try to piggyback on Janson's point. You two weren't arguing the same thing at all. HIS point was that we need more quality female protagonists, he was only taking umbrage with my, uh, "delivery", I guess (which I still don't get, but whatever); YOUR point was that increasing female presence was pointless because "boys will be boys".

And you still didn't answer the question I directed at you. Are you angry about the increased influx of female protagonists, or what?

Furthermore, I love how the crux of your whole argument is that we're not supposed to encourage kids to be accepting of things they're initially wary of. Yeah, because childrens' perceptions of society are always without fault, and they never take prejudiced stands on issues they don't fully comprehend. Dude, as adults, if we don't like what we see in kids' behavior, we correct it. It's called parenting. Put more girl-helmed films in front of the faces of little boys, and they're going to naturally assume that girls aren't some weird "other" that needs to be avoided.

Jun 26 - 12:07 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

"Yeah, because childrens' perceptions of society are always without fault, and they never take prejudiced stands on issues they don't fully comprehend"

This is so ridiculous i had to respond. What prejudice exactly? Not liking girlie things? If my son started playing with barbies i would worry. As far as Brave, my son was excited to see it as any little girl was. Not a good comparison. I think you are trying to drudge up a non-issue.

Jun 26 - 01:06 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

... [facepalm] ...

"What prejudice exactly? Not liking girlie things?"

Uh. Not "girlie things", sir. Protagonists who happen to be female. Keep on message here, boys. Focus. Focus. You continue:

"If my son started playing with barbies i would worry."

So then, you've kiiiinda sorta admitted that it's a hang-up that YOU would have with something he's chosen to do with his free time, which would then be followed up by you trying to steer him away from playing with Barbie dolls, since it didn't cleave to his established gender role. Riiiiight...?

Jun 26 - 01:34 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

How did anything I stated make you think I was mad about the influx of female protagonists? You're still wanting an increase in female characters because you feel thats what young males need not because they add to the art form, which I think is a disservice to both sides of the argument. And I wasn't piggy backing on anyones argument, in my first response I stated that your point is lame because it basically weeds itself out through maturity. You're trying to argue that its bad for young males to not like female protagonists and then you state that the issue is not a problem in older males. Thus your strategy is bad and your argument comes down to you bitching about genetics, er, boys being boys. Which they will be, because THEY'RE LITTLE KIDS.

Jun 27 - 02:52 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

Please continue to facepalm yourself, it is amusing.

I did keep on message, which you conveniently ignored so you could focus on my comment on barbies. Fail.

Yes, i would have a problem if he liked barbies because it is not natural.

So what was your counterpoint to my son liking Brave? i am waiting.

Jun 27 - 05:35 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

I understand that, infernaldude, your posts repeated ad nauseum that you think little boys' sexism is something that corrects itself with age. You latched on to one sentence I said, "adult males aren't nearly so picky about their protagonists", and inferred that it made the rest of my argument moot. But how do you think adult male audiences reached this point? Through efforts made by entertainment companies over the past thirty years to incorporate -- DURING A VIEWER'S CHILDHOOD -- more females into the male line-of-sight. That's why I said that a film like "Bridesmaids" (or "Brave" for that matter) couldn't play to a WWII-era audience; there was no schema for such a thing at the time. Repetition in commercial products breeds what society considers "normal". The ratio of male-to-female protagonists is still not anywhere near equal, although it is improving. My only wish is for there to be more female characters that boys can relate to in order to bridge the gap further. Yeah, kids are immature, but they're also impressionable, and I think that if we become apathetic apologists for the "I'm not going to watch a princess movie - it's for girls" attitude, we're doing all of our kids a disservice.

As for you, MisterVile, congratulations?. to PIXAR for doing what I'm suggesting the rest of the industry do with more regularity, and figuring out how to make a girl character appeal to your boy. You know, kinda sorta like what my whole argument has been about this entire time? You and your son essentially did nothing but let a commercial entity market their product to you, and you ended up enjoying said product, not because you forced yourself to view the film with "progressive eyes", but because the studio took it upon itself to make sure that it appealed to groups other than girls aged 3 - 15, and their moms? You know? Kinda like that?

Jun 27 - 09:04 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

This is what makes the point moot - there were only a couple of people here who claimed they didn't want to watch a "princess" movie, and they have been sufficiently ridiculed by the rest of the posters. (Although Valmordas actually changed his mind after watching the film himself - progress!) That shows just how less acceptable such attitudes have become. That's why I called your argument "shrill", because it's overblown and seemingly designed to provoke an argument, even though I agree with your ideal. I can't speak for others, but I wasn't alienated as a boy reading and watching such protagonists as Dorothy, Alice, Wendy, Matilda, or Fern from Charlotte's Web. I think Infernaldude has mentioned one of his favorite films being "Labyrinth" with Jennifer Connelly as the protagonist. It isn't equal but it's getting better. And if I remember correctly, many young girls also went through a phase where they thought boys were "icky". It is a part of a natural sexual maturity. And it is up to parents, not Hollywood, to instill respect for the 'other' at this age. The only way to influence Hollywood product is by choosing which films you want your money supporting. Some of my favorite fantasies with female protagonists recently have been "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Mirrormask". Fanboys happen to love Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Underworld, and others with female protagonists.

Jun 27 - 10:03 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

"Little boys sexism". Think about that statement. Think about how stupid it is. No one is being oppressed or life is being made unnecessarily harder because young males aren't embracing feminine subject matter. I'm willing to bet you're one of those people that freaks out when a kid makes a gun shape with his hand and pretends he's shooting something.

And yes, I have constantly referenced YOUR statement because you basically shot holes in your own argument in your very first comment.

Jun 27 - 11:01 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

"It isn't equal but it's getting better."

Christ Almighty, YES. EXACTLY.

"And it is up to parents, not Hollywood, to instill respect for the 'other' at this age."

How quaint. Wouldn't it be nice if this how children's' brains actually operated. The way it works in real life, however, is that they opt to consume whatever it is commercials scream at them between shows on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, and if Hollywood only throws the girls a bone in the form of a film like "Brave" once every five years, you can't as a parent just take them to that one movie, or buy it on blu-ray and keep showing it to them over and over and over again. Why? Because despite the fact that you're happy with your entertainment selection, the Hollywood machine knows how to market to your kids and insist that they NEED to see this next new brainless, candy-colored adventure movie in outer space that's coming out NEXT WEEKEND OMG, and THAT movie is going to feature a male protagonist 9 times out of 10.

Repetition. Dictates. Normalcy.

It's not enough to have one "good" female character every couple of years. You need to have a bunch of crappy, badly-written female characters, too. Because there's one "good" male character every couple of years, and a never-ending sea of crappy, badly-written male characters ALL THE TIME. The gender divide is, I am convinced, what lends itself to these incredibly black and white reviews from critics who damn Merida and Elinor for not "breaking new ground for the female race". It's that damned pedestal all over again. Let us down from off of the pedestal and let us be brilliant and mediocre and asinine with you guys. We want to play, too, in ALL of the reindeer games, and not just the really important, artistic ones.

Also, I've only been reading this one conversation on this article. I didn't see the other related comments. Should I? Are they going to piss me off?

Jun 27 - 11:05 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

"I'm willing to bet you're one of those people that freaks out when a kid makes a gun shape with his hand and pretends he's shooting something."

Don't be stupid. Not only is that irrelevant it's... yeah, it's just really stupid.

Jun 27 - 11:07 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

You are still showing disdain for something that is natural in young boys. Parenting is not about fighting what comes natural, it is educating and helping the child with it. But whatever, i got way too tl;dr with this argument.

Jun 27 - 01:26 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

You're damn right I'm "showing disdain". The core of the debate could be whether or not kids' behaviors are based on their natural impulses, or based on cues they receive from their external world. The old nurture vs. nature argument. My stance is with nurture, yours with nature. Never does the twain really meet on this, so I guess I'll just say thanks for stopping by and call it a day.

Jun 27 - 02:41 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Dude. Chill. I think we agree way more than you want to admit. And yes, the "little boys sexism" statement WAS dumb. Way dumber than my admittedly dumb gun shaped hand gesture comment. See? We're growing here, right? We're finding a middle ground like MATURING adults. No matter what and according to what I've read from you, I think youre wrong in your approach at equality. Its self destructive and proven to be ineffective when you force a subject into a medium. But that doesn't mean I don't strive for equality. I have a daughter. And 3 nieces. I would like to think I would die for their rights. I also have two boys. And 2 nephews. And I know what they are into vs. what they are not. Personally, I just want INTELLIGENT, RELEVANT, and PURPOSEFUL characters in my stories regardless of gender. You (seem) to want more of these type of characters to be females just because the field isn't equal. Thats my problem with your argument. Now lets talk about movies! ;)

Jun 27 - 09:03 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

I appreciate your amended tone, but you think you could trash the patronizing "chill out" and "look how grown-up we can be" sentiment, please? Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm hysterical.

And yes, we do disagree, actually. You deemed my comment about sexism in little boys "stupid", and I can only assume it's because you have a very narrow definition of the word sexism. Perhaps you only qualify a male boss saying "have sex with me, or I'll fire you" to his female underling a truly sexist remark, and everything not quite so overt as this example would fall into some sort of gray area. If I'm wrong with this guess, then I apologize. But I define sexism as an expectation of certain behaviors and, more importantly, mental or physical inferiority of an individual based on a strict, socially-approved gender binary. Boys like toy trucks. Girls like baby dolls. Boys like dogs. Girls like cats. "I'm not going to watch stupid girl stuff," IS a sexist statement, even if it's coming from a four-year-old.

You'd do quite well to stop beating the "it's natural, it's natural" drum, because it actually isn't. If the kid's old enough to be using a language that YOU, an adult, can understand because YOU taught it to him, that should be your first clue right there that he's NOT a product of ugga ugga cave boy instinct, but instead, the product of a very intricate, nuanced society, and I can assure you that he's picked up on aaaaalll of its subtleties; sexism included. Kids pick up on everything, including things we're not aware we're communicating to them.

But I digress. This in itself is a really, really loaded subject.

So we have tried to whittle it down to the visibility of female and male protagonists in cinema directed at children. I'll say it again: I'd love intelligent, high-quality characters in absolutely everything that Hollywood puts out -- and once again, male or female will do -- but to actually expect that to happen strikes me as naive. First of all, the definition of what a "good" character is will vary from person to person, and even if it didn't, it's Hollywood, baby. Their prerogative is to make money, not art. Ultimately, quantity would just be an easier leap for the industry to make.

It would be super neat if more filmmakers just made "the Ripley Decision", where they have a script, and once they're about to pitch it, said to themselves, "what the hell, I'm going to change the sex of my protagonist, and absolutely nothing else." And you know why? Because that method WORKED. Men and women (and boys and girls) are really not all that different from each other. You would shockingly have to change very little for the character to be convincing in either sex's body.

Jun 28 - 05:33 PM

Kathryne Cui

Kathryne Cui

yes, sadly, people do. apparently it's easier for some people to connect with talking rats and monsters and fish and toys than with females.

Jun 24 - 06:35 PM

Heather Griffiths

Heather Griffiths

Well let's hope it does fantastic box office, maybe they'll make more "girl" movies. There is always such surprise when a female led movie does well, like Bridesmaids. Isn't it true that statistically, more women than men go to horror movies? Besides, one word - Buffy.

Jun 24 - 08:00 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

If its Pixar and if its Animated people will watch it (and it will be number ONE). bottom line. because EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY CAN ENJOY IT. if one person in a family wants to see it, PIXAR has a guaranteed sale of 4 tickets (Mom AND Dad AND their two kids . . . if PIXAR could sell tickets to family dogs, it would) . . . hey, maybe movie theaters can open dog-sitting kennels in order to assist families bringing their pets with them to the movies.//// MAD MAX IV is here official trailer bootleg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLvS5T2bcEU&feature=related .

Jun 24 - 07:29 PM

Dave J

Dave J

"I don't want to see this movie because it stars a girl"?
You'd be surprised how often that happens!

Jun 25 - 01:11 PM

Josh Leitzel

Josh Leitzel

So we're still saying that Brave is skewed towards the female gender eh? I'm a guy and I loved it. And I'm not trying to make boys look like brainless idiots but there's enough action and butt jokes in Brave for the guys.

Jun 24 - 04:54 PM

Heather Griffiths

Heather Griffiths

If liking action and butt jokes makes you a brainless idiot, then as a female, count me in.

Jun 24 - 08:03 PM

Christopher256G

Christopher Greffin

I don't really accept the who guy movie vs girl movie thing. There are good movies and not so good movies. I can personally have as much enjoyment watching Atonement as watching The Dark Knight or something. Two very different movie going experiences. And on the polar end or the spectrum for every stupid Kathrine Heigl romantic comedy there's another piece of garbage from Adam Sandler. But it's nice Pixar finally got a female herione none the less.

Jun 25 - 09:18 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Wow, I was not expecting End of the World to totally bomb like that. I figured Carell could bring in a decent audience just based on his likability and charm.

Jun 24 - 05:01 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Some people can't stand him. Don't look at me, but my mom hates the guy... no idea why.

Jun 24 - 07:32 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

I think the main reason is that people are getting sick of end of the world movies, even farce ones. Proof is when Keira Knightley nor Steve Carrell can pull in viewers.

Jun 24 - 07:43 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

His charm works very well in tv, or worked, but at this point I think we are pretty used to all his characters being pretty much the same good hearted doofus.

Jun 25 - 08:26 AM

Isaac

Isaac H

I agree completely. All of the other Pixar films have appealed heavily to both genders despite starring male protagonists. I don't see why people keep calling Brave a "girl movie", as it's about a tough-as-nails Scottish princess and a seemingly-demonic bear. It's actually one of the darkest, most frightening films in Pixar's filmography. Really don't see how it's a "girl movie", outside of the fact that it stars someone female.

Jun 24 - 05:12 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

The depressing thing about this phenomenon is that it's very common in school age boys, who are trying their best to draw the line in the sand VERY CLEARLY that they are NOT girls, and therefore shun anything that is not explicitly marketed to them. My mother is an early childhood specialist with over 20 years experience with children in a classroom setting, and the girls would readily listen to stories about boys, but the boys would immediately glaze over when she tried to read them a story with a girl hero.

Adult males aren't nearly as picky about their protagonists, but yes, this is a real thing, and its a gender discriminatory oversight that we need to call attention to, because we can't nurture this sort of prejudice in our kids. Not in this century.

Jun 24 - 10:09 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

So your mad that adolescent boys (what, age 6 to 11) are gender discriminatory? Really? Are we really going to put our foot down about tree houses saying no girls allowed? That boys HAVE to have tea parties with their stuffed animals? Its natural for young males to act this way. I would be willing to bet that males have acted this way since the beginning of our species. And females mature sooner than boys, which would make them more accepting of characters and stories regarding either gender. Now if you had evidence that a young males rejection of effeminate subject matter leads to some kind of misogynistic mind set then I would think you have a point but with out it your point is very lame.

Jun 25 - 12:47 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

I'm not sure what post you read, but my implication is that strong female leads are needed in more abundance in entertainment marketed at children, so that boys become more accustomed to seeing them, and can't indulge as readily in dismissing them as "not relateable". And I don't mean token-tomboy-in-a-group-of-guys visibility either, that's pretty much worthless. Both sexes are healthier if they can relate to the opposite sex. Girls aren't the only sex magically, mysteriously capable of empathy.

And FYI, "no girls allowed" clubhouses haven't been a thing for a while. How old are you? When I was a kid in the 80's and early 90's, we didn't have gender-based club houses, nor cooties, nor any of those other traditional trappings of all-American gender discrimination. Then again, I was born in a climate after feminism was A Thing.

Jun 25 - 08:34 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

So we should force female leads into stories JUST so young males can get used to it? This is idiotic and unnecessary because, as you stated, lack of interest in female characters is something that most males grow out of. My point (including the tree house reference) is that we are talking about adolescent boys. Young children. Minds still developing. They're going to think this way regardless of how many female characters you shove in front of them. They're still going to want Optimus Prime and Darth Vader toys and its OK. Most will learn to appreciate female leads and heroes as they mature (LIKE YOU STATED). I would be willing to stand behind mandatory Ripley viewings a la Alien and Aliens from grade 3 to 6. Shes such a badass and likes kids!

Jun 25 - 10:54 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

"Force"? You just confirmed my theory that males are thought of as the norm in stories, and females are thought of as the deviation from that norm. Can you really not see how closed-minded that sounds?

My point still stands about the need for more visibility for female leads. Why? Because male audiences are only more amiable to the idea of a female protagonist as a direct result of entertainers' efforts over the past thirty years to focus on females in a less sexist way. The catalog of good, solid, female leads is still really paltry compared to well-rounded male characters, but there's been more effort to -- oh, God, can't believe I need to phrase it this way -- "humanize" females in the eyes of movie-going audiences since the 1970's. "Bridesmaids" could not have been made during the WWII era, for example. Different generations have different attitudes about things, based on what they're shown to be "normal". It's a chicken-and-egg scenario. We -- women, that is -- are still woefully underrepresented in media.

Look, whether or not you disagree with me about what's "natural" for young boys to gravitate towards, what my argument really comes down to is this: do you think that it is advantageous to have either 1.) the same, or 2.) fewer female protagonists in films that are aimed not only at adults, but children? If so, why?

Jun 25 - 11:27 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Avery, your points could maybe go down better without the shrillness. There have been a number of recent advances in female protagonists, and the situation seems to be improving, and not such a dire situation as you paint it. The success of "Alice in Wonderland" is one thing, the critical recognition of the ultra-feminist "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is another. But I was amused with this, your take on the "trappings of the all-American gender discrimination". Yes, because our society is much harsher on females than South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and don't forget that our social values are still largely inherited from Europe (where a great deal of the international sex traffic is still conducted). But, yeah, America sucks, don't it?

Jun 25 - 02:19 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

Actually, Janson, you guys are the ones sounding like zealots to me. I've been nothing but levelheaded throughout this entire exchange, so the "shrillness" that you are interpreting me to be screeching my arguments with is pretty invalid. I didn't say that the situation for female protagonists isn't improving; the very fact that we are having this conversation on a mainstream forum means that the issue is at least in the public zeitgeist whereas people wouldn't have even considered it a problem years ago. It also doesn't change the fact that women are still underrepresented in media. THAT WAS MY ENTIRE POINT. This argument was never about how patriarchy has "failed women in the first world", or whatever you're trying to strawman, it was always about visibility of female protagonists vs. male protagonists.

You want to play a fun game? Go to Box Office Mojo right now, and go to the final stats for each year of the past decade.

You there? Okay, now look at the top ten grossing films for each year, 2010, 2009, 2008... You can even do the top 20, or 30, or all 100 for each year if you like, but cutting it down to the top 10 is a just little quicker to tabulate.

Okay: now, how many in the top ten grossing movies each year have prominently featured female protagonists? You're going to come across some "couple movies", which feature a man and a woman sharing the spotlight, and ensemble casts (primarily animated and super hero films), but you can disregard those for the sake of this particular argument.

Staring to see a trend? I'm insulted that women only account for 1/10th of the totals, and that number is apparently supposed to be good enough for me to not notice the discrepancy.

Jun 25 - 02:56 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Sure, I'll play. But first I should point out that, beyond gender, ANY 3 dimensional characters are rather slim pickings from the major studios, but, OK let's stick with the femmes.

This year - Hunger Games, Snow White/Huntsman, The Vow - true the second two may be knocked out by year's end, but at least replaced by Brave.

2011 - Twilight, and The Help and Bridesmaids are right outside the top ten (but neither one was a very good film, and doing women no favors)

2010 - Alice in Wonderland, Twilight, Tangled

2009 - Twilight, Blind Side

2008 - Twilight with Sex and the City and Momma Mia just outside the top ten.

If you want to complain about the quality of female roles, that would be one thing. If you think more women should go to the theater, or even be more discriminating what they see, that would be another. One reason fanboys are catered to is because they're a faithful and reliable box office draw. But there are a number of quality female films every year that get ignored at the box office. Last year alone, you had "Margaret", "Martha Marcy May Marlene", "Jane Eyre", "Hanna", "Soul Surfer", "Another Earth", "Melancholia", "Certified Copy", "Pariah" and "Meek's Cutoff". There are choices available and Hollywood will only respond to money, unfortunately. Your anger should be aimed at the poor quality of formulaic "chick flicks" with such Cosmo pretty girls like Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Reece Witherspoon or Anne Hathaway (One Day and Love and Other Drugs are among the worst of the genre, imo) than going after fanboys who are buying tickets to what they want to see.

Jun 25 - 03:21 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

Fair enough on the lack of 3-dimensions observation... If there's anything I'd like to see more than an increased influx of estrogen, it's simply an uptick in well-written and accessible characters, be they male OR female. Of course, as you've pointed out, this is an industry first and foremost, and depth is not always profitable, so I'm not going to hold my breath on that.

As for your tallying of the films on Box Office Mojo, I am iffy on the counting of "Twilight" as a female-helmed series, when the entire draw of these films is supposedly the main girl's relationship with the vampire guy, qualifying this franchise as a series of "couple films" to me. And "Blind Side" was just as much about the teenage football player as it was about the sassy Southern homemaker, which probably puts it more in the ensemble camp. Even so, when you include these debatable titles to your final score, your total still falls well short behind the final tally of male protagonists. To an embarrassing degree, really. (And don't get me started on how much female protagonists' conflicts tend to hinge on romance as a key element to their development, whereas males are freed from such expectations)

Seriously, this was ALWAYS the heart of my argument, and now matter how much you keep insisting that I should be happy with these numbers, I can't be. Because I shouldn't HAVE to be. I know discrimination when I see it. I actually did a study on audience attitudes to male and female protagonists in one of my sociology courses in college as my final, and my professor asked for my permission to publish it (although I never did). I'm not trying to toot my own horn, I'm just letting you know that my beliefs aren't stemming from an emotional place; I've actually attempted to quantify this phenomenon before. It was really interesting, but also pretty disheartening if you're a girl.

Hollywood is still run by rich, white males, and they make the movies that they want to make, and insist that any deviation from the status quo is "too risky". You think women are the only group this mentality affects? What about racial groups? What about films that take place in other countries and star people FROM said countries? Hollywood's got tunnel vision, and they consistently opt to put white males ahead of the curve, AT LEAST 50% of the time.

And I don't even care about the quality of the female protagonists. There are more sh-tty male protagonists in the annals of film history than there are brilliant ones, and it should be no different for female roles. They can't all be Ripley (who I agree is a stellar example of a well-rounded female hero, BUT! Fun fact that you probably already know: she was originally written as a male character!). Quality in female characters is important, but if we're ever going to achieve the equal footing people have insisted we've had all along, you've also got to strive for quantity. I've seen more than one review of "Brave" in which the critic laments that Princess Merida didn't "do anything significant for women in film", which is a totally unfair standard. We don't ask for every male role to redefine what it means to be a man...

Jun 25 - 06:36 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

We're disagreeing less than you may think. I'm disagreeing more with the strategy of your argument than with the result you'd like to see. Obviously anyone who refuses to see a film with a strong female protagonist is a moron, and there have been several comments saying just that. But the problem as I see it is in the absence of female roles that don't fall into stereotype. I brought up the list of quality women's movies, because the only way to truly combat the status quo is to do it commercially - by refusing to buy tickets for these films and supporting smaller films instead. It doesn't seem to do any good to put more women in movies if all they're doing are reinforcing the same stereotypes that keep them in these subservient roles. I personally think Brave is positive sign that things are changing for the better.

Jun 25 - 07:03 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

^ This. Jansen made my point with the statement " the strategy of your argument". I know what your saying man (Avery). But the fact is its a losing battle. Your fighting genetics, IMO. You can't force children to think or behave a certain way. We have seen the negative results. Both with children conforming to their forced regiment and/or resisting it. Plus your doing a disservice to the art by incorporating aspects that are only there to make up a possible minority gap. I believe you create more of a rift between two parties by MAKING them accept each other.

Jun 25 - 10:20 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

Don't try to piggyback on Janson's point. You two weren't arguing the same thing at all. HIS point was that we need more quality female protagonists, he was only taking umbrage with my, uh, "delivery", I guess (which I still don't get, but whatever); YOUR point was that increasing female presence was pointless because "boys will be boys".

And you still didn't answer the question I directed at you. Are you angry about the increased influx of female protagonists, or what?

Furthermore, I love how the crux of your whole argument is that we're not supposed to encourage kids to be accepting of things they're initially wary of. Yeah, because childrens' perceptions of society are always without fault, and they never take prejudiced stands on issues they don't fully comprehend. Dude, as adults, if we don't like what we see in kids' behavior, we correct it. It's called parenting. Put more girl-helmed films in front of the faces of little boys, and they're going to naturally assume that girls aren't some weird "other" that needs to be avoided.

Jun 26 - 12:07 PM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

"Yeah, because childrens' perceptions of society are always without fault, and they never take prejudiced stands on issues they don't fully comprehend"

This is so ridiculous i had to respond. What prejudice exactly? Not liking girlie things? If my son started playing with barbies i would worry. As far as Brave, my son was excited to see it as any little girl was. Not a good comparison. I think you are trying to drudge up a non-issue.

Jun 26 - 01:06 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

... [facepalm] ...

"What prejudice exactly? Not liking girlie things?"

Uh. Not "girlie things", sir. Protagonists who happen to be female. Keep on message here, boys. Focus. Focus. You continue:

"If my son started playing with barbies i would worry."

So then, you've kiiiinda sorta admitted that it's a hang-up that YOU would have with something he's chosen to do with his free time, which would then be followed up by you trying to steer him away from playing with Barbie dolls, since it didn't cleave to his established gender role. Riiiiight...?

Jun 26 - 01:34 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

How did anything I stated make you think I was mad about the influx of female protagonists? You're still wanting an increase in female characters because you feel thats what young males need not because they add to the art form, which I think is a disservice to both sides of the argument. And I wasn't piggy backing on anyones argument, in my first response I stated that your point is lame because it basically weeds itself out through maturity. You're trying to argue that its bad for young males to not like female protagonists and then you state that the issue is not a problem in older males. Thus your strategy is bad and your argument comes down to you bitching about genetics, er, boys being boys. Which they will be, because THEY'RE LITTLE KIDS.

Jun 27 - 02:52 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

Please continue to facepalm yourself, it is amusing.

I did keep on message, which you conveniently ignored so you could focus on my comment on barbies. Fail.

Yes, i would have a problem if he liked barbies because it is not natural.

So what was your counterpoint to my son liking Brave? i am waiting.

Jun 27 - 05:35 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

I understand that, infernaldude, your posts repeated ad nauseum that you think little boys' sexism is something that corrects itself with age. You latched on to one sentence I said, "adult males aren't nearly so picky about their protagonists", and inferred that it made the rest of my argument moot. But how do you think adult male audiences reached this point? Through efforts made by entertainment companies over the past thirty years to incorporate -- DURING A VIEWER'S CHILDHOOD -- more females into the male line-of-sight. That's why I said that a film like "Bridesmaids" (or "Brave" for that matter) couldn't play to a WWII-era audience; there was no schema for such a thing at the time. Repetition in commercial products breeds what society considers "normal". The ratio of male-to-female protagonists is still not anywhere near equal, although it is improving. My only wish is for there to be more female characters that boys can relate to in order to bridge the gap further. Yeah, kids are immature, but they're also impressionable, and I think that if we become apathetic apologists for the "I'm not going to watch a princess movie - it's for girls" attitude, we're doing all of our kids a disservice.

As for you, MisterVile, congratulations?. to PIXAR for doing what I'm suggesting the rest of the industry do with more regularity, and figuring out how to make a girl character appeal to your boy. You know, kinda sorta like what my whole argument has been about this entire time? You and your son essentially did nothing but let a commercial entity market their product to you, and you ended up enjoying said product, not because you forced yourself to view the film with "progressive eyes", but because the studio took it upon itself to make sure that it appealed to groups other than girls aged 3 - 15, and their moms? You know? Kinda like that?

Jun 27 - 09:04 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

This is what makes the point moot - there were only a couple of people here who claimed they didn't want to watch a "princess" movie, and they have been sufficiently ridiculed by the rest of the posters. (Although Valmordas actually changed his mind after watching the film himself - progress!) That shows just how less acceptable such attitudes have become. That's why I called your argument "shrill", because it's overblown and seemingly designed to provoke an argument, even though I agree with your ideal. I can't speak for others, but I wasn't alienated as a boy reading and watching such protagonists as Dorothy, Alice, Wendy, Matilda, or Fern from Charlotte's Web. I think Infernaldude has mentioned one of his favorite films being "Labyrinth" with Jennifer Connelly as the protagonist. It isn't equal but it's getting better. And if I remember correctly, many young girls also went through a phase where they thought boys were "icky". It is a part of a natural sexual maturity. And it is up to parents, not Hollywood, to instill respect for the 'other' at this age. The only way to influence Hollywood product is by choosing which films you want your money supporting. Some of my favorite fantasies with female protagonists recently have been "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Mirrormask". Fanboys happen to love Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Underworld, and others with female protagonists.

Jun 27 - 10:03 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

"Little boys sexism". Think about that statement. Think about how stupid it is. No one is being oppressed or life is being made unnecessarily harder because young males aren't embracing feminine subject matter. I'm willing to bet you're one of those people that freaks out when a kid makes a gun shape with his hand and pretends he's shooting something.

And yes, I have constantly referenced YOUR statement because you basically shot holes in your own argument in your very first comment.

Jun 27 - 11:01 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

"It isn't equal but it's getting better."

Christ Almighty, YES. EXACTLY.

"And it is up to parents, not Hollywood, to instill respect for the 'other' at this age."

How quaint. Wouldn't it be nice if this how children's' brains actually operated. The way it works in real life, however, is that they opt to consume whatever it is commercials scream at them between shows on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, and if Hollywood only throws the girls a bone in the form of a film like "Brave" once every five years, you can't as a parent just take them to that one movie, or buy it on blu-ray and keep showing it to them over and over and over again. Why? Because despite the fact that you're happy with your entertainment selection, the Hollywood machine knows how to market to your kids and insist that they NEED to see this next new brainless, candy-colored adventure movie in outer space that's coming out NEXT WEEKEND OMG, and THAT movie is going to feature a male protagonist 9 times out of 10.

Repetition. Dictates. Normalcy.

It's not enough to have one "good" female character every couple of years. You need to have a bunch of crappy, badly-written female characters, too. Because there's one "good" male character every couple of years, and a never-ending sea of crappy, badly-written male characters ALL THE TIME. The gender divide is, I am convinced, what lends itself to these incredibly black and white reviews from critics who damn Merida and Elinor for not "breaking new ground for the female race". It's that damned pedestal all over again. Let us down from off of the pedestal and let us be brilliant and mediocre and asinine with you guys. We want to play, too, in ALL of the reindeer games, and not just the really important, artistic ones.

Also, I've only been reading this one conversation on this article. I didn't see the other related comments. Should I? Are they going to piss me off?

Jun 27 - 11:05 AM

Ave

Avery Beckett

"I'm willing to bet you're one of those people that freaks out when a kid makes a gun shape with his hand and pretends he's shooting something."

Don't be stupid. Not only is that irrelevant it's... yeah, it's just really stupid.

Jun 27 - 11:07 AM

MisterVile

Mister Vile

You are still showing disdain for something that is natural in young boys. Parenting is not about fighting what comes natural, it is educating and helping the child with it. But whatever, i got way too tl;dr with this argument.

Jun 27 - 01:26 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

You're damn right I'm "showing disdain". The core of the debate could be whether or not kids' behaviors are based on their natural impulses, or based on cues they receive from their external world. The old nurture vs. nature argument. My stance is with nurture, yours with nature. Never does the twain really meet on this, so I guess I'll just say thanks for stopping by and call it a day.

Jun 27 - 02:41 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Dude. Chill. I think we agree way more than you want to admit. And yes, the "little boys sexism" statement WAS dumb. Way dumber than my admittedly dumb gun shaped hand gesture comment. See? We're growing here, right? We're finding a middle ground like MATURING adults. No matter what and according to what I've read from you, I think youre wrong in your approach at equality. Its self destructive and proven to be ineffective when you force a subject into a medium. But that doesn't mean I don't strive for equality. I have a daughter. And 3 nieces. I would like to think I would die for their rights. I also have two boys. And 2 nephews. And I know what they are into vs. what they are not. Personally, I just want INTELLIGENT, RELEVANT, and PURPOSEFUL characters in my stories regardless of gender. You (seem) to want more of these type of characters to be females just because the field isn't equal. Thats my problem with your argument. Now lets talk about movies! ;)

Jun 27 - 09:03 PM

Ave

Avery Beckett

I appreciate your amended tone, but you think you could trash the patronizing "chill out" and "look how grown-up we can be" sentiment, please? Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm hysterical.

And yes, we do disagree, actually. You deemed my comment about sexism in little boys "stupid", and I can only assume it's because you have a very narrow definition of the word sexism. Perhaps you only qualify a male boss saying "have sex with me, or I'll fire you" to his female underling a truly sexist remark, and everything not quite so overt as this example would fall into some sort of gray area. If I'm wrong with this guess, then I apologize. But I define sexism as an expectation of certain behaviors and, more importantly, mental or physical inferiority of an individual based on a strict, socially-approved gender binary. Boys like toy trucks. Girls like baby dolls. Boys like dogs. Girls like cats. "I'm not going to watch stupid girl stuff," IS a sexist statement, even if it's coming from a four-year-old.

You'd do quite well to stop beating the "it's natural, it's natural" drum, because it actually isn't. If the kid's old enough to be using a language that YOU, an adult, can understand because YOU taught it to him, that should be your first clue right there that he's NOT a product of ugga ugga cave boy instinct, but instead, the product of a very intricate, nuanced society, and I can assure you that he's picked up on aaaaalll of its subtleties; sexism included. Kids pick up on everything, including things we're not aware we're communicating to them.

But I digress. This in itself is a really, really loaded subject.

So we have tried to whittle it down to the visibility of female and male protagonists in cinema directed at children. I'll say it again: I'd love intelligent, high-quality characters in absolutely everything that Hollywood puts out -- and once again, male or female will do -- but to actually expect that to happen strikes me as naive. First of all, the definition of what a "good" character is will vary from person to person, and even if it didn't, it's Hollywood, baby. Their prerogative is to make money, not art. Ultimately, quantity would just be an easier leap for the industry to make.

It would be super neat if more filmmakers just made "the Ripley Decision", where they have a script, and once they're about to pitch it, said to themselves, "what the hell, I'm going to change the sex of my protagonist, and absolutely nothing else." And you know why? Because that method WORKED. Men and women (and boys and girls) are really not all that different from each other. You would shockingly have to change very little for the character to be convincing in either sex's body.

Jun 28 - 05:33 PM

Audrey Difi

Audrey Difi

Hey, Iā??m a 13-years-old guy, and I have watched Brave and Iā??m gonna watch it again in 3D.

Jun 24 - 05:22 PM

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