gal gadot

‘Wonder Woman’ Makes Over 100 Million at Box Office, A Win for Women in Film

wonder woman

Wonder Woman has smashed the box office–making it the biggest opening by a woman director (Patty Jenkins) ever. It’s also one of the biggest openings for a superhero movie in history, which is saying a lot, considering we’re in a “Superhero Era.” The movie garnered $101.4 million in its opening weekend. That’s a heck of a lot of $$$.

In case, you’re wondering how badass this is, it beat Sam Taylor-Johnson’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which took in $85.1 million.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot has received positive reviews from film critics—at this point, you could argue that she’s Israel’s biggest star.

So why the big numbers? “There’s something iconic about… the story of Wonder Woman that’s hitting the zeitgeist perfectly,” Warner Bros’ distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. In a moment where sexism is rampant in politics, the movies are a place where women can see an imperfect but fun feminist fantasy come to life.

And yet, the sexist takes and meta-commentary continues. For instance, last week, The Hollywood Reporter ran a piece asking, “Can Patty Jenkins make the superhero world safe for female directors? Warner Bros. gambles $150 million on its first woman-centered comic book movie with a filmmaker whose only prior big-screen credit was an $8 million indie.”

No one asks that for male directors, even when their movies flops (hello, “Batman vs Superman”). Users on Twitter pointed out how sexist this is, especially using the word “gamble,” as if women creators are a gamble. Isn’t it the industry that than makes it that way? For example, a recent study by the Sundance Institute Commission and Women In Film, as The Hollywood Reporter mentioned, “found that across 1,300 top-grossing movies from 2002 to 2014, only 4.1 percent of all directors were women.” If that’s not enough to convince someone, there are almost 24 male directors for every one woman director, and women directors have shorter careers than men, according to a U.S.C.-Annenberg study released in February. That doesn’t sound so promising, but perhaps Jenkins’ win is a win for women everywhere.

However, the fact that Jenkins broke records is a positive sign–and for women directors and actors. As Jenkins explained herself in The Hollywood Reporter, being a director isn’t actually intrinsically male (and I mean, that’s obvious, but apparently not to Hollywood):

“I’m sure there’s a long history of belief that certain jobs are masculine. But why a director would fall into that [category] makes me very confused. Because it feels like a very natural job for a woman. It’s incredibly maternal in a way. You’re caretaking all of these sorts of things.

There have been things that have crossed my path that seemed like troubled projects,” she said in the interview. “And I thought, ‘If I take this, it’ll be a big disservice to women. If I take this knowing it’s going to be trouble and then it looks like it was me, that’s going to be a problem. If they do it with a man, it will just be yet another mistake that the studio made. But with me, it’s going to look like I dropped the ball, and it’s going to send a very bad message.'”

Of course, that being said, Hollywood needs to be more inclusive in general–promoting queer women, women with special needs, and women of color, and not just white women. Because young girls and teens should grow up being represented in major films–and believing that they too can be superheroes in their own ways–not just able-bodied girls or girls from white families.

That being said, there’s been a huge response on Twitter, with many celebrities and parents posting positive statuses and photos about the film:

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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