Let’s all let out a huge sigh of relief: “Wonder Woman” is a smash. Despite the scuffle over its female-only screenings, it wasn’t taken down by Men’s Rights Activists; it didn’t underperform like last year’s “Ghostbusters.” Monday estimates put its weekend haul at $103.1 million domestically, plus another $122.5 million internationally. Hopefully, that does it. Talk that women can’t open blockbusters, superhero or otherwise, is officially over, and dated models of Hollywood producing can belatedly go the way of the dodo (or the Western). And maybe, just maybe, now we can finally get that Black Widow solo Marvel movie.
There is one thing holding that back, though: Star Scarlett Johansson just had a monster bomb. Only two months ago “Ghost in the Shell” went from pricey extravaganza to critical and box office dud. Then again, the public has a famously short-term memory. Hollywood doesn’t. But money doesn’t lie, and a female superhero movie raking in mint might overshadow a disaster that was, among its other crimes, accused of old school white-washing.
So let’s forgive and forget. In the Marvel movies, Johansson regularly steals the picture from her more roided-up male co-stars. And Black Widow doesn’t even have any real superpowers. She’s just really good at kicking ass and jumping onto and off of flying ships and backflipping onto baddies then smashing them in the head. We don’t really care about her weirdo backstory, which, as incoherently revealed in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” involves a ballet school and Julie Delpy. We just want to see her hurt people. And you can bring back the great Julie Delpy anyway, because Julie Delpy is god.
Even before this weekend, there already were female-driven comic books movies en route. Marvel promises “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson, in two years. DC has two female-led movies in the works: the Joss Whedon-helmed “Batgirl” and the all-women “Suicide Squad” spin-off, “Gotham City Sirens.” We’re sure to hear of more in the coming weeks.
We’re not just glad because that means more big-time work for actresses. We’re also excited because variety is the spice of life. If comic book movies are the only game in town — and we hasten to add that you should head to the art houses, where diversity isn’t a problem — we’d prefer them to give us more than men in tights with a token woman or two in the background of the posters.
In the meantime, let’s revel in a weekend of shattered records. “Wonder Woman” was both the highest opener for a female-driven superhero movie — not hard, since the last one released was 2005’s “Electra,” starring Jennifer Garner, but still — and the highest for any movie directed by a woman. (It’s OK, Sam Taylor-Wood, director of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” there’s no shame in getting silver.) And on top of that, little girls now have a big movie superhero to look up to, and in a film in which she battles untold casually sexist men, who’d rather she knew her place. Oh, and let’s not forget: It’s a good movie, too.