“I don't like how it's almost never said that Hollywood execs act off what sells and what the masses (internationally, not just domestically )want.”
I wrote essay long responses to this. And I’ll post them here. Allow me to destroy this claim with actual facts and logic.
1)Actually, that argument is ALWAYS brought up.
2) And it’s easily dispelled.
Tons of properties that contest the “popular wisdom” have succeeded throughout the years, but were dismissed as “flukes”. Meanwhile, properties that have employed heavy sexism and things like white-washing, under the excuse of it “selling better” have bombed. HARD. SUPER HARD. This has been the case for decades. Whenever something starring women and/or minorities have succeeded, studios do, in fact, often dismiss them as flukes and continue with what they’re doing, and refuse to learn their lessons when their supposed “more marketable” white male extravaganzas flop. When a diverse project succeeds, no matter how many ties it happens, it’s an anomaly, never the rule. When the discriminatory stuff gets made, the studio rolls out the “more marketable” excuse, and ignore it when it bombs.
Recent examples: Gods of Egypt (white washed Gods of Egypt). BOMBED. Exodus, Gods and Kings. Whitewashed. BOMBED. Lone Ranger, with white Johnny Depp as Tonto, MAJOR BOMB. Pan GIANT mega-bomb. (And we’re talking heavily promoted, major release, lost-the-studios-tens to even hundreds of millions of dollars BOMBS) “Stonewall”, which cut out the actual PoC, trans folk, and women who were instrumental in the riots to give credit/focus on a ficitonal white dude, HUGE boycott that sunk the movie.
Other historical instances which prove that “white dudes” certainly do not “sell” necessarily: Heaven’s Gate, Water World, One From the Heart, At Long Last Love, Dragonball: Evolution (whitewashed again!), The Conqueror starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan, Dick Tracy, Ishtar… All movies with huge budgets, stars, promotional tours, etc.
Meanwhile, huge successes with women/PoC?: The Matrix Films (Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne as the main stars), The Hunger Games, Foxxy Brown…
…Almost every single one of Disney’s biggest Non-Pixar successes (Frozen, Aladdin, both versions of Beauty and the Beast, both versions of The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Snow White, Pocahontas… Meanwhile their track record with white guys… Aside from Pixar films, you’ve got Pinnochio and arguably the Lion King against John Carter, Hercules, Atlantis, Lone Ranger, etc)…
…Waiting to Exhale, Cleopatra Jones, Blazing Saddles, the last two Mad Max films, Twilight, basically any Bruce Lee film, the Rush Hour series, Point Break (Keanu Reeves starred, directed by a woman), A League of Their Own, the first Charlie’s Angels film, Alien, Aliens, Terminator II, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One, basically half of Will Smith’s film career, half of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Wizard of Oz…
…Like, do I really need to go on here? My list barely encompasses the evidence of how much women and minorities CAN AND DO SELL JUST AS MUCH.
Also, this supposed “never brought up” (but actually always brought up) lazy excuse for an argument has been factually crushed since the 30′s under the might of one woman:
MAE FUCKING WEST. MOTHERFUCKERS.
Her movies during the thirties (which she wrote and produced as well as starred in) were literally what kept Paramount afloat during the Depression. Literally, her work is the only reason Paramount didn’t flop and disappear back then. This is despite them being heavily censored. So West was able to strong-arm Paramount into letting her cast Duke Ellington and other black actors in speaking roles. Yup. Her movies were among the first to offer black performers speaking roles. In the very films that were keeping an entire major studio afloat. And all the movies she made with black actors? Huge successes.
During the thirties, West was the second-highest paid person in the US. The only person with a higher income than her in the country was WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST.
So… yeah… This claim was back in the age when people still thought eugenics was a neat idea.
More movies about white dudes are simply BEING MADE. They are just as likely to flop as any other movie.
Here’s the ACTUAL REALITY of how this works. In the form of multiple test samples:
*Superman III and IV, Batman Returns, Batman and Robin, Doctor Strange (1978), Captain America (1990), X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hulk all flop*
Studios: Damn, how did that happen? Oh well, the next superhero movie should do better.
*Supergirl, Catwoman, and Tank Girl Flop*
Studios: Well, clearly this has nothing to do with the fact that these movies were all steaming piles of dog shit. It’s just that no one goes to see movies with women. *quietly ignores huge female-led Box Office Smashes going on at the exact same time*
Studios: Well, clearly this has nothing to do with the fact that this movie is a steaming pile of dogshit and that no one wants to see Shaq act. It’s just no one goes to see movies with black men. *ignores Will Smith and Denzel Washington’s continued success and the first two Blade films*
Blade films: *First good, successful comic films in a decade.*
X-men: *Comes out two years after the first Blade and is successful.*
World: *Credits X-Men, not Blade, for the comic book movie Renaissance.*
Moonlight, Get Out, Hidden Figures are major hits. Relatively, they’ve technically made better returns on invest than Batman v Superman (when you compare the budget costs. Batman v Superman had to make a billion dollars to break even).
Like, I’m sorry, but that argument just is not supported, in the least, by the math. Or facts.
Sorry for the essay, but I am sick of people a) always making this claim in these discussions and b) claiming that it “rarely comes up” when in fact it ALWAYS DOES.
TL;dr: There are countless instances that reflect that white-male movies are not, in fact, what sells as opposed to female/minority led films. Here are tons of movies that demonstrate how full of shit that is. They’re not the films that sell, they’re the films that are MADE thanks to absurd, irrational, and bigoted double-standards that Hollywood has clung to in the face of contrary evidence going back to WHEN MOVIES STARTED BEING MADE.
White men are not more marketable, they’re just assumed to be because people want to include women and minorities as little as possible.