So that new superhero movie, Lucy, came out this past weekend and shocked everyone by coming in at #1, beating the new Hercules movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
It should be noted that this is strictly via the domestic American box office. Lucy’s $43,899,340 beats Hercules’ $29,800,263, but Hercules also made $28,700,000 overseas, giving it a total of $58,500,263 over the weekend (figures taken from Box Office Mojo). Lucy hasn’t been released overseas yet. Hercules is also doing a bit better than Lucy critically although neither is doing fantastic in that regard (according to Rotten Tomatoes Hercules has 62% from critics, 65% from the audience while Lucy has 58%/51%). But the bottom line is that Lucy is estimated to gross at least $100 million on a $40 million budget. So that’s a success, and I feel it’s a significant one.
Now, earlier this morning I read a blog from Olivia A. Cole Lucy: Why I’m Tired of Seeing White People on the Big Screen, in which she makes some very good and compelling points about racial diversity, and the lack thereof, in this film and others like it. However, as I said in the comments there, I still think that the success of this film (which, for the record, I have not seen, but will when it comes out on DVD) is a positive development.
As I said when I first heard of this film, the conventional “wisdom” in Hollywood is that “Female Action Movies Don’t Sell.” Despite many examples to the contrary, from the Resident Evil and Hunger Games franchises, to the prominent female leads in the Fast and Furious franchise, to even hit TV series like Buffy, Xena, and Le Femme Nikita, which prove that audiences will watch GOOD female action heroines, Hollywood remains unconvinced, and seems to regard every success of female action films as an aberration.
Still, every further success puts another chip in the wall. I don’t see how the execs at Marvel, who already have Johansson locked in as one of their superheroes, can’t at least be partially kicking themselves seeing her in this original superhero movie, and being a hit. Yes, there’s still a way to go with action films starring Women of Color, but I still see this as small step in the right direction.