This comes to me from three different producers, so I know it’s real: Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree that “We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead”. This Neanderthal thinking comes after both Jodie Foster’s The Brave One (even though she’s had big recent hits with Flightplan and Panic Room) and Nicole Kidman’s The Invasion (as if three different directors didn’t have something to do with the awfulness of the gross receipts) under-performed at the box office recently. “Can you imagine when Gloria Allred gets hold of this? It’s going to be like World War III,” one producer just told me. (I put in a call to Glo, who comments below.) Of course, Warner Bros has always been male-centric in its movies. But now the official policy as expressly articulated by Robinov is that a male has to be the lead of every pic made. I’m told he doesn’t even want to see a script with a woman in the primary position (which now is apparently missionary at WB). Oh yeah, the fact that so many Warner Bros movies have been sucking at the box office for the last two years is all the fault of females. (Then again, Robinov’s poorly performing Superman Returns was criticized for its girlie-man portrayal of the superhero.) As regular readers of my own box office reports know, chick flicks haven’t been doing well at the box office lately. But Robinov’s statements aren’t about women’s movies as a genre, they’re anti Hollywood actresses. Besides, neither The Brave One nor The Invasion were classic chick flicks, either. “It’s a phenomenal thing to say. What are we in the 1700s where women are back to being barefoot and pregnant?” a producer railed. “What’s next — fire all the Warner Bros women executives?”
UPDATE: Noted women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred just gave me this statement in response to what I’ve posted above: “If that’s what he said, when movies with men as the lead fail, no one says we’ll stop making movies with men in the lead. This is an insult to all moviegoers and particularly women. It is truly unfortunate that women get blamed for decisions which are made by men. Instead of taking responsibility for their own lack of judgment about which scripts to make, directors to hire and budgets to OK, some men in the movie industry find it easier to place blame for their lack of success on women leads and to exclude talented female actors from the top employment opportunities in Hollywood in favor of macho males. If that studio confirms that their policy is to now exclude women as leads, then my policy would be to boycott films made by Warner Bros.”
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