4:58 am - 06/01/2014

Angelina Jolie, Emily Blunt, Shailene Woodley Break Up Summer Movie Boys Club

Angelina Jolie, Emily Blunt and Shailene Woodley are muscling into the summer blockbuster boys club.

For decades, popcorn films have usually been reserved for actors with XY chromosomes, but  “Maleficent,” “Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Fault in Our Stars” are upending tradition and exposing cracks in a resilient glass ceiling.

Consider the evidence:

Disney is betting on Jolie’s global appeal to help sell the hugely expensive, $175 million-budgeted “Maleficent.” The actress, bedecked in sinister horns, lips curled into a menacing smile, dominates the movie’s print and television advertising. Clearly the studio thinks that Jolie in this meaty role is almost as big a draw as, say, Johnny Depp hamming it up as Captain Jack Sparrow. The only other character to warrant extensive screen time in trailers is Elle Fanning, an emerging star who plays the princess fated to have a nasty encounter with a spindle.

For its part, Disney stresses that the picture’s allure isn’t limited to one gender, even as it acknowledges that it will play well with girls.

“Relative to the competition in the marketplace that is more male-oriented, a film with a female lead may be more of a tug on female audiences and will end up being a relief, if you will, from ‘X-Men’ and ‘Godzilla,’” Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios’ executive vice president of theatrical distribution, said. “At the same time there’s a universalism in the story. Yes, it’s Angelina Jolie, but she’s also one of the few worldwide movie stars alive in the universe. It’s more about it being Angelina as opposed to it having a female lead.”

“Edge of Tomorrow” may be banking on Tom Cruise’s box office heft to sell tickets, but the science-fiction film provides Blunt with an opportunity to reinvent herself as an action heroine. In it, Cruise plays against type as a cowardly public relations officer forced into battle, and it is Blunt who must teach him how to fight and control his fear.

It’s no accident that “Edge of Tomorrow” arrives courtesy of Doug Liman, who also blessed the world with the sight of Jolie turning kitchen cutlery and other household items into lethal weapons in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

“I have put strong female characters in all my films, but the key is you actually have to have a strong story,” Liman said at the New York City premiere of “Edge of Tomorrow.” “[Blunt] has a really great story in this film. It’s not that she’s just tough. She’s got the pressure of the world’s counting on her to deliver a victory.”

Then there’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” which on paper seems the most conventional of the three — one veteran marketing executive privately quipped, “it lives, breaths, and smells like a Nicholas Sparks novel but for a younger audience.” True enough, its story of two teenage lovers who meet in a cancer patients’ support group mirrors “Love Story” and other tear-jerkers.

Yet audiences seem to be responding to the realism of the story, with social media buzz building in advance of the film’s debut next week. This enthusiasm comes despite the fact that the filmmakers do not shy away from showing Woodley’s cancer-stricken patient with her oxygen nose cannula in posters and other promotional materials.

“Teenagers respond to authenticity,” Wyck Godfrey, producer of “The Fault in Our Stars” and the “Twilight” franchise, said. “They don’t respond to Hollywood’s bullshit version of them. They respect that this movie doesn’t pander to them. We consciously didn’t shy away from showing anything.”

When it comes to women, Godfrey said fantasy films may be paving the way for more assertive representations.

“There are more and more strong teenage girl protagonists in action and fantasy,” he said. “Look at Tris in ‘Divergent’ or Katniss in ‘Hunger Games.’ People are flocking to these stories because they have strong female characters who face the world with no gender awareness. They’re not tough for girls. They’re just tough.”

The trio of arresting leading performances comes after an uneven few weeks for female actresses. Though Rose Byrne proved she could mine gross-out humor as nimbly as Seth Rogen in “Neighbors” and Jennifer Lawrence played an integral part in the success of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” films like “Godzilla” either quickly dispatched female characters (nice knowing you, Juliette Binoche!) or relegated them to the sidelines, with Sally Hawkins and Elizabeth Olsen providing master classes in looking pensive.

At least those actresses made it into the finished film. Despite the success of “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight,” both of which feature women in prominent roles, female representation in blockbuster films has been anemic. Of the top 100 grossing films of 2013, females comprised 15% of protagonists, 29% of major characters, and 30% of all speaking characters, according to findings by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

The reasons aren’t commercial.

“I have never seen a good or valid study that has found that the sex of the protagonist determines box office grosses,” said Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. “Rather, a number of studies have found that films with larger budgets enjoy larger box office grosses. The size of the budget, not the sex of the protagonist, helps to determines grosses.”

Another puzzling aspect of the gender gap is that women comprise a larger slice of the ticket-buying population than men, according to a recent survey by the Motion Picture Association of America. Granted, it’s one that’s declined on a per capita basis from 4.8 in 2009 to 3.9 last year; perhaps it’s time to create more appetizing options for this under-nourished sector of the movie-going public?

Beyond this recent flurry of gender gains, there are signals that this summer will be better than last, when “The Heat” and “The Conjuring” were among the few films sporting strong female roles. The upcoming comedy “Tammy” was co-written by and stars Melissa McCarthy, who used her “Bridesmaids” clout to get the passion project made. Likewise, R-rated comedy “Sex Tape” features Cameron Diaz yukking it up alongside Jason Segel, proving that beautiful women not named Kim Kardashian can get tripped up while chronicling coitus.

In a different register, “Lucy” features Scarlett Johansson as a drug mule turned avenging angel something of a male fantasy perhaps, but at least it’s one in which the woman is empowered.

When the victim becomes the aggressor, it signals a few barriers are collapsing.

who are your favourite female protagonists/characters,ONTD?
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leonaluis 1st-Jun-2014 02:05 am (UTC)
shailene earning her title as a cinematic legend and the next julia roberts
boweeko 1st-Jun-2014 02:07 am (UTC)
america's new sweetheart too!
leonaluis 1st-Jun-2014 02:08 am (UTC)
but can still get them mad while hitting number 1 at the box office!
thebloomroom 1st-Jun-2014 02:08 am (UTC)
wish i could adblock her face
sweet_heloise 1st-Jun-2014 02:15 am (UTC)
This man-loving anti-feminist <3
fancycarousel 1st-Jun-2014 02:19 am (UTC)
liquidt1000 1st-Jun-2014 02:20 am (UTC)
lmao her face always remind me of Patton Oswald

cittavuota 1st-Jun-2014 07:18 am (UTC)
surprised this isn't a kiss_ayumi comment tbh
Dee Vah 1st-Jun-2014 02:06 am (UTC)
Maleficent jammed so hard, man. Angelina's makeup made her even more beautiful.
boweeko 1st-Jun-2014 02:06 am (UTC)

sandstorm 1st-Jun-2014 02:08 am (UTC)
Whomp whomp.
fauxkaren 1st-Jun-2014 02:08 am (UTC)
jigglemypuff 1st-Jun-2014 02:09 am (UTC)
I can't decide if I want to see Maleficent or not. All the reviews I keep reading are terrible.
dyaus_screaming 1st-Jun-2014 02:12 am (UTC)
From the reviews I have seen "Angeline Jolie kills it as Maleficent, She's amazing, the movie... not so much"
fight4thislove 1st-Jun-2014 02:13 am (UTC)
From what I've gathered from online fan reviews: it's not a bad movie, its an okay movie. Angelina is amazing as Maleficent, the Visuals/Audio are stunning. Sharlto Copley is miscast, it has a decent conclusion and is overall a good movie. Most people give it a 3-3.5 out of 5.
lathwen1 1st-Jun-2014 02:17 am (UTC)
it's bad, and angelina is bad. i had free tickets and thought it was a waste tbh.
whiskybars 1st-Jun-2014 02:19 am (UTC)
don't go with high expectations, see it for angelina and the visuals.
walker_sarah 1st-Jun-2014 02:23 am (UTC)
I would just watch it for angelina
threestories 1st-Jun-2014 02:09 am (UTC)
It's making me so happy to see that movie flop.
rabbitncavylove 1st-Jun-2014 02:12 am (UTC)
onesilkstocking 1st-Jun-2014 02:13 am (UTC)
the scathing reviews for Million Ways are giving me life.
whiskybars 1st-Jun-2014 02:18 am (UTC)
rikushairflip 1st-Jun-2014 02:27 am (UTC)
tinkyfinky 1st-Jun-2014 02:07 am (UTC)
they all look so similar when placed side by side like that
jigglemypuff 1st-Jun-2014 02:07 am (UTC)
So Tom cruise isn't the protagonist in “Edge of Tomorrow” ?
whiskybars 1st-Jun-2014 02:20 am (UTC)
i'm intrigued by that as well even though the trailer made it seem like they were at least co-leads
jigglemypuff 1st-Jun-2014 02:22 am (UTC)
I can't honestly believe that Tom Cruise would be in a movie where he isn't the main character. I don't think he ever has.
walker_sarah 1st-Jun-2014 02:21 am (UTC)
I think they are more like co-leads
golden_scarlett 1st-Jun-2014 07:09 am (UTC)
smnp 1st-Jun-2014 06:36 pm (UTC)
he is
maishi_obuki 1st-Jun-2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
He is the lead.
they have a strong female as his co-star
sandstorm 1st-Jun-2014 02:07 am (UTC)
I'm hoping TFiOS does good...so I can potentially cash in some fake money on this movie/celeb stock game
walker_sarah 1st-Jun-2014 02:09 am (UTC)
TFiOS might be a summer surprise. it's not gonna do blockbuster numbers but tracking is doing good atm
sandstorm 1st-Jun-2014 02:10 am (UTC)
Where do people track upcoming films at? Or is it just casual searching word of mouth through social media?
fight4thislove 1st-Jun-2014 02:16 am (UTC)
whats funny is, a lot of box office guru's had it at the 40-50m range but is now dropped down neck and neck with Edge of Tomorrow because they think people will stay home to see Season 2 of Orange is the New Black?

I read that on another forum but I don't know how legit that is.
smnp 1st-Jun-2014 02:34 am (UTC)
tracking numbers for it is ....
firestarter_007 1st-Jun-2014 02:08 am (UTC)
i used to love charlize and scarlett.. but they've let me down so i burned my stan cards lol

RN i stan for Khalcheesy in GOT. as for celebs i'll just stick with the classic~ BAMF like linda hamilton and sigourney weaver.
firestarter_007 1st-Jun-2014 02:12 am (UTC)
how could i forget MERYL?! and Dame Judi Dench.. and Helen Mirren
bloolikejazz 1st-Jun-2014 02:21 am (UTC)
Judi is queen! Homegirl can barely see and still out acts any other actress. Like bow mortals!
fight4thislove 1st-Jun-2014 02:17 am (UTC)
its sad how none of the current crop of female actors are able to resonate as well with the public as the veterans still do.

I love Jessica Chastain but the roles she is choosing aren't exactly giving her the major jumping off point to launch her into future legendary actress like Meryl, Judi, Helen, Sigourney, etc.
ms_mmelissa 1st-Jun-2014 02:34 am (UTC)
i used to love charlize and scarlett.

I just realized they both dated Sean Penn. Blegh.
dyaus_screaming 1st-Jun-2014 02:11 am (UTC)
Well I'm really invested in Lagertha, Siggy and Aslaug (Kwenthrith is cool too) from Vikings.

TBH, although I'm really happy that there are more films with female protagonists coming out, I don't have any particular desire to see Maleficent or TfioS, they just don't interest me. I like how amazingly evil Maleficent was in the original Disney movie and knowing what they try to do in this one, it's just not something I care to see. TfioS... I read the book, but the dialogue just seems even more awkward spoken out loud. Edge of Tomorrow looks like something I might want to see though.
theblackwidow 1st-Jun-2014 02:11 am (UTC)
Scully, Black Widow, Leeloo, Ripley, Kara Thrace
lathwen1 1st-Jun-2014 02:11 am (UTC)
Just came back from seeing Maleficent. It was so bad, so boring, it had cute and funny parts, but no no way. The plot was weak and Angelina does nothing, she can't act much.
lathwen1 1st-Jun-2014 02:12 am (UTC)
more on topic: yes, the place was full. it made money here for sure.
rabbitncavylove 1st-Jun-2014 02:13 am (UTC)
aw I was hoping it would be good.. there isn't anything else out I want to see
lakers0604 Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:12 am (UTC)
Love Love Love this!

Slightly OT but has to do with women -I need some help guys. My bday is coming up and one of my friends was inviting my coworkers to a birthday party we are having. She invited someone who I absolutely DO NOT like and she knows I do not like her. From what I gathered, the girl I don't like was standing behind my friend when she was inviting some of my coworkers. The girl I didn't like overheard and said she wasn't invited.

What do I do? I absolutely do not like her. It's my birthday. I know if she's there it will bother me b/c she will bring her boyfriend who used to be one of my closest friends but hurt me. I don't speak to her or her bf anymore and I don't want them there. What do I do?
dyaus_screaming Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:15 am (UTC)
It's your birthday and you just don't get along with her, explain that to your friend and since your friend and since your friend was the one to invite her, your friend should probably be the one to uninvited her as well.

That said, you might not want to listen to me, I once invited a kid to my graduation because I felt bad that I was inviting all the people around him, even though he didn't even know my name. So yeah...
lakers0604 Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:35 am (UTC)
you are def right. thank you. i hope your graduation was ok!
evett Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:17 am (UTC)
Tell your friend to tell the girl you don't like that the invitation is rescinded.

It is your birthday. You shouldn't have to feel uncomfortable at your own party.

Your friend made the mess. She needs to clean it up.
wackypinkbunny Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:21 am (UTC)
It's your party. You need to tell your friend to tell that girl you don't like that she's not invited.
sandstorm Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:25 am (UTC)
If she doesn't like you (or does she?), I don't see why you or your friend can't politely tell her to not show up.
laetifico Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:26 am (UTC)
have your friend go back to the coworker you don't like and say something like, "look, i'm really sorry and mortified to do this, but i invited you without double-checking with lakers0604, and i found out that she was only planning for x number of people to come - there will only be enough food/space for x number of people. sorry about that! i was thoughtlessly inviting people without checking first. wish you could be there, but parties are hard to plan etc etc"
geraldine_blank Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:37 am (UTC)
you could always lie and say that you're paying for the birthday dinner and and want to keep it small and intimate
chilli_cheese Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 02:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, just rescind the invitation. Who cares abt an excuse, you're not friends wtf does she want to come anyways.
golden_scarlett Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 07:13 am (UTC)
Just to give you another perspective... just don't worry about it. Let them come - and work on feeling indifferent towards them. If the thought of them coming can railroad you so bad then maybe you need to work on desensitising to them anyway? Hate is closer to love than indifference and if you don't let them get to you - and just focus on the people you do like then you kinda.. win.

Does that make sense? Just if you go and uninvite them and make it a big deal then they will feel pretty important in your life. Let them know you DGAF.

Hope it works out anyway x
himechi Re: Need some help ONTD1st-Jun-2014 08:34 am (UTC)
everyone has great answers but for another perspective: you could let her come and charge her and her bf 5x the price hahaha

Edited at 2014-06-01 08:35 am (UTC)
onesilkstocking 1st-Jun-2014 02:12 am (UTC)
One of my fave female protags ever is Cherry Darling ♥
spider 1st-Jun-2014 02:12 am (UTC)

Forever my queen.
whiskybars 1st-Jun-2014 02:18 am (UTC)
omg yes
onesilkstocking 1st-Jun-2014 02:24 am (UTC)
hjalmartazar 1st-Jun-2014 02:28 am (UTC)
blue_birds 1st-Jun-2014 02:31 am (UTC)
bow <3
geraldine_blank 1st-Jun-2014 02:38 am (UTC)
love sidney

I love when she drop kicked Ghostface in Scream 4

FINALLY a horror movie heroine that has learned over the course of her movies to defend herself
cosmic_starz 1st-Jun-2014 03:19 am (UTC)
The first Scream is iconic.
flawedinsomniac 1st-Jun-2014 06:22 am (UTC)
I love her so much
reasontorhyme 1st-Jun-2014 02:13 am (UTC)
CJ Cregg, Anything Gina Torres, Donna Meagle and classic bamfs like Julie Andrews and Eartha Kitt.
ETA: Omg, my Queen Claire Underwood.

Edited at 2014-06-01 02:36 am (UTC)
gayporn 1st-Jun-2014 02:14 am (UTC)
Obligatory Emily Blunt should play Cammy White comment.
maishi_obuki 1st-Jun-2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
who is cammy white?
walker_sarah 1st-Jun-2014 11:24 pm (UTC)
from street fighter

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