Speaking at the Women in Film Awards last month, Meryl Streep lamented the fact that even though five recent movies aimed at women — The Help, The Iron Lady, Bridesmaids, Mamma Mia!, and The Devil Wears Prada — earned more than $1.6 billion at the box office, Hollywood continues to resist making female-targeted films. "Why?" she asked. "Don't they want the money?" Streep can now add Magic Mike to the list of hit films marketed toward women, as the male-stripper movie has already raked in a massive $40 million on a $7 million budget, thanks to an audience that was 73 percent female. Will Magic Mike's expectations-defying success be the turning point that convinces studios of the box-office power of female audiences?
Hollywood should try harder to woo women: Ever since the success of Star Wars in the '70s, studios have banked on young men aged 13 to 25 to drive the box office, says Oliver Lyttelton at Indie Wire. But of this year's Top 15 moneymakers, only three were aimed at that demographic — The Avengers, Men in Black 3, and Wrath of the Titans — and the latter two have earned significantly less than their franchise predecessors. And while action movies Battleship and John Carter flopped, female-targeted films like The Hunger Games, The Vow, Think Like a Man, and Magic Mike all surged past expectations. Studios would be wise to ease "off the relentless targeting of teenage boys, and start courting the ladies."
"Does Magic Mike prove that female audiences are now more reliable than Hollywood's staple teen boy targets?"
Indeed, women are the secret to the success of any film: The raunchy comedy Ted, which won the weekend box office, had an audience that was 56 percent male, compared to Magic Mike's 73 percent female, says Jen Chaney at The Washington Post. Remove the females from Magic Mike's audience and you have a flop. But remove the males from Ted's audience and you still have a sizable hit. After all, 44 percent of Ted moviegoers were women. The lesson: Women are willing "to embrace different genres and cinematic experiences much more readily than their male counterparts." They're "usually totally fine with seeing 'guy flicks.'" It's time for studio execs to wake up to this fact, and start putting women "at the forefront of their decision-making process."
"Ted, Magic Mike and the box office gender divide"
Regardless, Hollywood simply needs more original films: Forget the gender divide, says Paul Dergarabedian at Hollywood. The respective successes of the male-driven Ted and the female-driven Magic Mike both teach the same lesson: "Moviegoers are tiring of old formulas at the cinema." Sifting through the glut of loud explosions, superhero spandex, and movie sequels, audiences jumped at the chance to see films about a boorish teddy bear and male strippers. Both movies "benefitted from their uniqueness and very effective marketing campaigns, making them irresistible to their target audiences."
"Ted and Magic Mike: The curious case of the unpredictable box office weekend"