The critically savaged vampire sequel, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," sucked up $140.7 million at the box office this weekend, the third biggest opening ever, behind "Dark Knight" and "Spider Man 3." What's noteworthy: The vast majority of ticket buyers were female — a demographic usually "overlooked by studios — and the movie's pre-release buzz was driven by "fangirls" (the female equivalent of the male movie-nerd bloggers who have proven their ability to make or break a film). Will this change Hollywood's sexist strategies?
This is a game-changer: "New Moon"'s message isn't exactly pro-female, says Melissa Silverstein in WomenandHollywood.com, but "the fact that a film fueled by woman power and starring a woman" has done so well at the box office is a "huge triumph." If the studio execs fail to tap into this neglected market, "their shareholders should have them fired."
"'New Moon' brings a new dawn to Hollywood"
Fangirls have spoken — but the movie is directed by a man: On one hand, "New Moon" offers proof positive that fangirls can drive a box office smash all on their own, says Kate Harding in Salon. On the other, the first Twilight installment was made by a female director. Disappointingly, the producers "seem to have ignored any lessons the first film offered about the capabilities of a female director."
"Could 'New Moon' be a feminist triumph"
Too bad it's an anti-feminist movie: Even as the film is "breaking box office records," its undermining feminist values, says Katherine Spillar in The Huffington Post. "Both tween girls and their moms are swooning" over characters based on retrograde "gender stereotypes": "testosterone-driven" males and passive lovelorn females. Women shouldn't be too happy about "New Moon"'s success.
"'New Moon,' same old sexist story"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF "NEW MOON"
• The Vatican vs. "New Moon"