A (wo)man’s world
It’s no longer just a man’s world. Times have been shifting fast, and to keep up with our ever-changing society, movies have been changing to reflect this gradual transformation. The rise of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements has assisted in this change for women. With support for victims of sexual assault and the take-down of many once-renowned male celebrities — such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey— the prominence of women in films has grown.
Classic films like “Ghostbusters” and the Ocean’s franchise recently experienced a modern twist: their traditionally male-dominated casts were replaced by a female-centric ensemble. These recent reboots represent a new age in the film industry, wherein women are projecting their voices across Hollywood and the nation.
Steve Tague, a professor in the theatre department at the university, attributed this recent inclusion of women in male-dominated films to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. He further noted that this change was bound to occur, as many films “do not accurately represent society.” Although the updated versions may represent society more accurately, this transformation doesn’t always translate into a high-quality film that surpasses its original.
Considering how revered the classic versions are in American culture, the updated versions were less successful in capturing the hearts of viewers: both the new “Ghostbusters” and “Ocean’s 8” movies were unable to match the popularity and hype of their predecessors. Moreover, both films were unable to garner much profit despite large gains from the box office.
The cause for these net losses, however, may be more complex than an all-female cast.“I don’t think it has anything to do with the women. I think it just got tired,” Tague says.
For example, the last film within the Ocean’s series, “Ocean’s 13,” received dismal reviews compared to the original film. Thus, in this case, the gender of the cast does not seem to be the root of the issue as many Hollywood executives have often been led to believe, preventing the prominence of women in films in the past.
In fact, the reviews for both updated films were decent, and complimented the work of the all-female casts. For example, “Ghostbusters” received a favorable review from New York Times writer Manohla Dargis.
“[The film’s] excellent cast deepen with real comedy chemistry and emotionally fleshed-out performances,” Dargis wrote. “It allows women to be as simply and uncomplicatedly funny as men.”
On the other hand, “Ocean’s 8” did not impress critics as much. “[Ocean’s 8] changes things up with an all-female gang,” Dargis wrote, “but there’s a boyfriend angle, so even when women are running a multi-million-dollar con they have to make room for guy troubles, which is a drag.” Therefore, the film would have benefited from a more female-centric plot.
Yet, both films represent a new America where women’s voices are louder than ever before. Films now seem to provide viewers with a more authentic experience that is relatable to all kinds of viewers. Hopefully, in the future, all-female casts will become more commonplace within Hollywood, as we see a rise in the power and voices of everyday women in America.