HomeFC ORIGINALSWhy Are Female-Led Superhero Movies/TV Series Bombing at the Box Office?

    Why Are Female-Led Superhero Movies/TV Series Bombing at the Box Office?

    When people talk about superheroes, their mind directly goes to Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Hulk, etc. Very often times people think of female superheroes. There have been some badass women in comic books however, their representation in the media is not something anyone wants to talk about.

    In the past decades, female superheroes have been treated as side characters. Many had demanded their solo movies or series, however, when they do come out, they don’t do business as expected.

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    History Of Female-Led Superhero Movies/TV Series

    Female-led Superhero movies
    Supergirl, Elektra, Catwoman and Sheena (Image via FirstCuriosity)

    The first female-led superhero movie was ‘Sheena: Queen Of The Jungle’ which came out way back in 1984. A few months later, the most known female DC superhero, Supergirl got her solo movie. Other than coming out in the same year, these movies also had one thing in common, they did terribly on the box Office.

    However, fans can say that the 80s was not the time when female-led superhero movies could’ve flourished. But what about the 2000s? Well, both Marvel and DC dipped their toes into making superhero movies around female leads.

    DC brought fans Catwoman in 2004 with a female who already had a proven record in the superhero movie genre, Halle Berry. 20th Century Fox released Marvel’s ‘Elektra’ in 2005 starring Jennifer Garner after her decent performance in the subpar Ben Affleck starrer ‘Daredevil.

    Both of these suffered a similar fate as the previous female-led superhero movie. They had a very weak story and poor representation of the characters. After this, both DC and Marvel focused more on their own thing and distanced themselves from such media.

    Marvel kept female superheroes in side roles and that worked well for them. Characters like Betty Ross, Black Widow, Maria Hill, and Scarlet Maximoff were represented better and fans loved these characters. 20th Century Fox already doing great with female mutants in the ‘X-Men’ franchise.

    13 years later, DC once again dished out a female-led superhero movie but this time it was different. They took their time and made a “wonder” full movie with Gal Gadot, ‘Wonder Woman’. It did great business and worked as the ray of hope for the next superhero movies of the same genre.

    After ‘Wonder Woman’, both superhero franchises dived in to produce multiple female-led superhero movies, but Marvel dived harder. Marvel released their first MCU female-led movie, ‘Captain Marvel’. They made it clear that they will be focusing more on female characters with the A-Force tease in ‘Avengers Endgame’. However, the majority of their projects haven’t done great.

    ‘Black Widow’, ‘She-Hulk: Attorney At Law’, and ‘The Marvels’ all bombed miserably and people just bashed Marvel left and right.

    However, as for the DC, their DCU was already going down and their female-led projects were just foul icing on the already burnt cake. Margot Robbie starrer ‘Birds Of Prey’ and ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ both were major disappointments. In addition to that, they also canceled the ‘Batgirl’ movie which fans had some expectations.

    This year, Sony also joined the list of franchises with disappointing female-led superhero movies with ‘Madame Web’. It was something that no one wanted and the writing and screenplay didn’t help its case.

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    Is It Female Characters Or Their Representation That Lead To Their Media Getting Flop?

    Ms Marvel, Captain Marvel, Spectrum And Wonder Woman
    Ms Marvel, Captain Marvel, Spectrum And Wonder Woman (Image via FirstCuriosity)

    The major issue with all these projects is that the storytelling was not their strongest suit. All origin movies didn’t do a great job of setting up the characters. When you look at movies like ‘Iron Man’, Man Of Steel’, ‘Batman Begin’, etc. all are superb origin stories and set the bar to another level. They were only played out on a surface level and just didn’t let the audience feel anything.

    As for the spin-offs and sequels such as ‘Birds Of Prey’ and ‘The Marvels’, the character development just wasn’t there. DC tried to bank up the ‘Birds Of Prey’ on Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn but fans didn’t get to know a whole lot about her.

    The existence of ‘The Marvel’ is still questionable as the franchise would been the same without it too. The only good things about the movie were Iman Vellani’s Ms Marvel and the post-credit scene setting up the future ‘X-Men’ project.

    ‘Black Widow’ just suffered due to poor writing. It should have been a decent goodbye movie for Scarlett Johanson’s Black Widow.

    However, both franchises must be looking to leave everything in the rearview. DC is going through a rebuilding phase and with James Gunn sailing the ship, fans can see better female-driven movies or TV shows for Batwoman, Supergirl, Hawkgirl or even Black Canary.

    ‘The Marvels’ is when the MCU hit rock bottom and is planning to bounce back. With the inclusion of X-men into the franchise, Marvel has access to some of the popular female characters such as Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, etc. It has already been rumored that the first ‘X-Men’ movie will focus on female characters.

    The franchises should give these female-centered projects some more love. They can invest more time in developing better screenplay and improve the current state of female superhero media.

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    Mukul Dutt
    Mukul Dutt
    Mukul Dutt is the content writer at the First Curiosity. He has been working with the First Media Network for more than a year and has covered more than 500 eSports articles for FirstSportz. Mukul loves superheroes and sitcoms and can't stop talking about them. When not working, he might be grinding in Valorant, binge-watching any sitcom or absorbing knowledge.

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