Box Office Barometer 4-11-11: The State of the Actresses

Out of the top 10, only two movies had female leads. Hanna placed #3, and Soul Surfer placed #4, and according to Deadline, both movies over-performed.  Apparently, $12.3 million and $11.1 million are over-performing.  For the highest profile new release based on a male character, Arthur earned $12.6 million for #2, which is considered underperforming.

These perceptions are created by the production budget, but the budget difference says more than the returns.  Arthur was granted $85 million, whereas Hanna was allotted $30 million, and Soul Surfer had $18 million.  The studios correctly approached the two female movies, understanding that the movies will not break the bank, so they budgeted accordingly.  Unfortunately, that seems to be how they approach most female-driven movies.

Look at Natalie Portman’s movies this year.  Black Swan cost $13 million, and it went on to make $292 million. No Strings Attached was granted $25 million, but that extra $12 million was for Ashton Kutcher.  It went on to make $139 million.  Your Highness had $50 million, but it also had two other male leads in James Franco and Danny McBride.  That only made $9.5 million this weekend.  So contradictory to studios’ beliefs, grosses went down for every male actor added to Natalie’s fray.

Hopefully studios will realize that it’s not so much the actor’s gender that will push or pull people, it’s the type of movie.  Look at the movies that actresses had to vie for this year: Country Strong, The Roommate, Sucker Punch.  It’s not the actresses fault if faulty premises only generate modest returns.  It’s up to the studio to greenlight better stories.

The studio executives are trying, but they are stuck in their archaic ways.  Therefore, they deserve a grade of BRAINWASHED!


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