Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ladies love Bats too!

One of the best parts of Friday afternoons has always been reading a just-arrived Entertainment Weekly. This week's issue featured a cover story on The Dark Knight, fairly unremarkable until I got to this passage:

Despite all of the records being shattered, perhaps the biggest revelation about The Dark Knight's opening weekend was who was sitting in the audience... A reported 48 percent of The Dark Knight's audience was female, and that number probably would have been even higher had so many women not flocked to Mamma Mia!

Whether they were drawn by the rubberneck curiosity surrounding Ledger's last fully realized performance or simply felt that this comic-book movie had something to say to them, too, The Dark Knight's audience represents a huge demographic shift for studio marketers to wrap their heads around.

As a female moviegoer who had The Dark Knight's release date marked on her calendar for some time (although considering the fact that it coincided with my birthday, it was pretty hard to forget), I'm kind of offended, not to mention confused, by these comments. 

To review: people out there think that a movie starring Christian Bale, sex object since the days of Newsies* (oh come on, he was 18 then!), Aaron Eckhart, who emerged as a smart woman's sex symbol in Thank You For Smoking, and Heath Ledger, who stole every teen girl's heart in 10 Things I Hate About You, isn't going to attract female viewers?

And this is Batman we're talking about here. He's not some obscure superhero from the 70s resurrected from the DC Comics vaults in the hopes of squeezing out a few more dollars from the comic book cash cow. He's a part of American culture and mythology.

The writer of this article - a dude, of course - surmises that women either went to see the movie because of all the hype surrounding Heath Ledger's death or because they thought it might "[have] something to say to them too." I'm not exactly sure what that latter reason means, but why can't a girl go see this movie because she, too, wants to go see a big ol' summer blockbuster? Are blockbusters not so because EVERYONE goes to see them? Last time I checked, women were included in "everyone." And it's not like this was a shitty summer blockbuster like Armageddon or Transformers. There's Oscar buzz for this movie and quality films appeal to people regardless of gender. No debate necessary.

Maybe my point of view is so hopelessly skewed when it comes to film that I'm talking out of my ass here, arguing for naut. But I don't think that's the case. Come on, Hollywood. Women love movies just as much as men. Stop acting shocked when we show up to see them.

*I admit I have an ironic appreciation for Newsies whereas everyone else my age seems to embrace it sincerely. But it's an appreciation nonetheless, right?

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