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Geek Girl in Hollywood: It's not surprising 'Wonder Woman' is a smash

Yes, guys will go see movies about girls.
Wonder Woman
"Wonder Woman," starring Gal Gadot, broke a slew of box office records last weekend. Credit: Clay Enos, DC

By now you’ve probably read a zillion articles about "Wonder Woman": think pieces, reviews, box office reports. I have as well. I keep reading them, partially because I’m so thrilled with the success of the film, and partially because it’s amusing that people seem so surprised by how well it’s done. Honestly, I find that hysterical. How can anyone not have known?

Even if the film had been bad, people would have gone to see it. That it’s phenomenal only makes the news better. I don’t know why studios underestimated this film. I don’t know why anyone did. When I spoke to my girlfriends about their most anticipated film this year, if it wasn’t “Star Wars”; it was “Wonder Woman.” When I spoke to kids, they all wanted to see it. Little girls have been dressing like Wonder Woman for decades. I did, and most little girls I knew and know have done the same.

So why do studios fear a female-fronted superhero film? Sure, there was a lot of pressure on “Wonder Woman” to do well. There is for every film with a large budget. The thing I’ve been hearing from insiders, though, is that directors and studios are afraid they’ll be looked at as catering to women. So, you ask, why is that a bad thing? It’s not. For some reason, however, anything catering to women gets a bad rap. Can’t put a female character in the toy pack because boys won’t buy it. Can’t put the color pink on anything because boys won’t buy it. Can’t put a lady in the lead of anything but a rom-com or guys won’t go see it.

You know what? It wasn’t just women at “Wonder Woman” this weekend. It was guys taking their girlfriends, wives taking their husbands, parents taking their kids, both boys and girls. It was guys who wanted to see a kick-ass superhero film. Studios, clearly guys don’t fear the lady cooties as much as you think they do. In addition, women spend a lot of money on films. We women see all the films with guys in them and we see the few genre films with female leads. We see the rom-coms (well, I don’t, but many do) because that’s what you give us. Did “Hunger Games” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” teach you nothing? Well, maybe this time you’ll listen.

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We are 51 percent of the population and our stories kick ass. Guys want to watch them as well. Guys will go see a female-fronted superhero film even if you don’t shoot the female lead like she’s there just to show you how hot she is. (High-five, Patty Jenkins, for shooting Gal Gadot like a badass, yet differently than any other superhero.) They’ll see a good story about a girl, just like I’ll see a good story about a guy. Imagine if your son said he looks up to Wonder Woman the way I said I looked up to Han Solo as a kid. Is the world going to end? No, and I really don’t believe that there are many people out there who wouldn’t want their kid to look up to a compassionate, strong, powerful, kind and talented character, no matter what gender they are.

So, can we have more female superhero films now? If nothing else, let our dollars speak for us. We clearly want them. 

Follow Jenna Busch on Twitter @jennabusch and visit her site, Legion of Leia