KARACHI: Charlie’s Angels was such a bomb film. We’re talking about the 2000 version that featured Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore. The women kicked butt and looked good and made us laugh – what’s not to love about that? And we’re not alone in saying this. According to Vanity Fair, Charlie’s Angels opened at No.1 in November 2000 and grossed more than $264 million at the global box office.
Looking back, we see some problems. The women were hyper-sexualized and there was a lot of sexism in the film (as could be seen with the way the women used their sexuality to solve a lot of their cases). This means that 2019 was the perfect year for new and improved feminist Charlie’s Angels with newer, fresher stars that would pave the way for female-driven action films.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The film has totally bombed at the box office, seeing a disappointing opening weekend. For instance, the film only made $8 million on its opening weekend in North America, as opposed to the 2000 film that made close to $40 million in its opening weekend
Many are wondering what happened. Because the film is getting good reviews on social media by the handful of people that did go to watch the film.
One reason proposed by film critics and movie buffs is that sequels don’t always work and that the new Charlie’s Angels didn’t have enough star power. Kristen Stewart was the only recognizable name and while Naomi Scott recently made her mark in Alladin, she and Ella Balinska are still not big enough names to pull cinema-goers to the theatres. Another reason is that it went up against some big films, such as Ford V Ferrari starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon.
However, there’s the elephant in the room: does sexism have anything to do with this? Elizabeth Banks, who wrote, produced, directed and starred in the film, had some comments on why the film didn’t do well at the box office.
In an interview with the Herald Sun, Banks said that “If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.” This comment draw some controversy because women-led action films such as Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman have done well.
Banks has an explanation for that. “They’ll go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre,” she said. “So even though those are movies about women, they put them in the context of feeding the larger comic book world, so it’s all about, yes, you’re watching a Wonder Woman movie but we’re setting up three other characters or we’re setting up Justice League.”\
Many have criticized Banks for blaming the film’s failure on sexism.
The film is currently playing in theatres worldwide (and in Pakistan too). Watch it and decide for yourself why the film isn’t doing well.