Warner Bros. Bans Female Lead Movies – UPDATED

Boycott-Warner-Bros(IMPORTANT UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF THE POST)The headline almost reads like a joke doesn’t it? You’d half expect that it’s April 1st and that this must be some sort of gag article like “The Onion” or something. Even when my friend Peter sent me this I myself had to check and re-check the source because it’s just so ludicrous sounding. But apparently, Warner Bros. has adopted a new policy of rejecting any movie that has a female lead character.

First the relevant information. This comes to us from DeadlineHollywoodDaily which is an entertainment business blog run by LA Weekly writer, Nikki Finke, who recently won Entertainment Journalist Of The Year from the 2007 Southern California Journalism Awards. It reads like this:

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.

Ok, before going on too much here I want to be totally transparent and point out that I believe Warner Bros. is the single most ass backwards thinking studio out there (I know there are some VERY good people there… but in my opinion, the ship is run by morons who know no end to the limits of human stupidity, arrogance, ignorance and worst of all a manipulative evil that staggers the imagination. The foul steps of Warner Bros have been well documented around here, and I just wanted to say this upfront so you can interpret my commentary accordingly.

First of all, there is no denying that the biggest box office movies by far are the male lead ones. All one has to do is look at any annual box office reports and see the top 20-30 spots are usually reserved for “Men Only”. This however opens up the discussion on what is the CUASE of seemingly exclusive male lead only movies at the top of the box office. One can not simply ignore the fact that most of the movies out there that get green lit are male lead scripts. That’s just the fact. Studios are already making far more male lead films than female lead ones. So with a seemingly 10:1 ratio, it’s no surprise at all that 10:1 of the box office top spots go to men. HOWEVER, it also means that 10:1 BOTTOM spots go to men… but I’ll address that in a moment.

One also has to take genre into account when looking at box office numbers in relation to gender. The top grossing films are USUALLY within the genres young male audiences gravitate to. Fantasy, adventure, action, Sci Fi. These are genres that target more of a male audience and also garner the majority of the Box Office crowd. I mean, no matter how good the upcoming George Clooney dramatic film “Michael Clayton” is, I guarantee you it won’t make $100 million… and that’s ok for what it is.

So can movies with female leads (the few of them that are actually made) be profitable? According the the backwards thinking Warner Bros brain trust “no”. But real numbers (a concept Warner Bros is unfamiliar with… hence their outrageous, numbers pulled straight out of their ass, claim that 70% of piracy came from Canada.. which was throughouly TROUNCED by each independent study and Warner has since backed off of) suggest that YES, female lead films CAN be profitable.

The Devil Wears Prada $124,740,460 domestic
Dreamgirls $103,365,956 domestic
The Queen $122 World Wide
Hairspray (2007) $118,096,909 domestic
Flightplan $220 million world wide
Princess Diaries over $130 million each world wide

It’s funny that one of the examples used was “The Brave One” (with Jodi Foster), which only made about $34 million. Ok, that’s not a good number. HOWEVER, when you look at a MALE lead film with a comparable theme, the Kevin Bacon film “Death Sentence”, both films on the surface about innocent people out for revenge for the taking of a loved one, you see that the FEMALE lead film more than tripled the performance of the male lead film. Death Sentence made just $9 million.

So if a studio will outright reject the notion of female lead films because The Invasion (which everyone knew was doomed to fail months before it ever hit theaters) or The Brave One… what do you do with flops like Grindhouse? What about Flyboys ($13 million), or Zoom ($11 million). How about Delta Farce ($8 million) or a real machismo film like The Condemned ($7 million)? Do we say: “Hmmm… male lead films flop. Therefore we hereby will only do movies starring animals, animated characters and aliens”? Obviously not.

Films with women as the lead characters are few and far between as it is. 90% fall into the genres that don’t usually excel at box office results… and the precious few that do get action/adventrue treatments are HORRIBLE films to start with (Catwoman, Elektra, Aeon Flux). So to suggest “Women in lead roles is the problem” is short sighted and asinine. And to me, that pretty much sums up Warner Bros.

I’ve emailed someone at Warner Bros asking them for a comment, so far I haven’t heard back. IF this report is true (there is always a chance this award winning journalist could be mistaken I guess) then the social repercussions of such thinking sends shudders down my spine, as it should for all of us. Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov must be fired and fired immediately, not just for incompetent business thinking (I’m not going to tell him how to run his business), but for a socially reprehensible move such as banning women.

After waiting for 9 hours, calling 2 different numbers and 3 email addresses, Warner Bros. Finally got back to me. A very nice woman from Corporate Communications got a hold of me (After my last message said that CBS News wanted to interview me tonight about the situation…THEN SUDDENLY they get a hold of me) and made this statement. It’s only fair to WB to openly share here with you what they said:

WB Rep – “Mr. Robinov never made that statement, nor is it his policy.”

TMB – “So are you saying it is not now, nor will be Warner Bros. policy to stop producing films with female leads?”

WB Rep – “Correct. That is not our policy. A blogger (assumably Nikki Finke) made a statement without giving us the opportunity to first respond.”

TMB – “All right, that’s all I needed to know. Thank you for calling me.”

Ok, so there you have it. Warner Bros. is now… 3 days after Finke’s article went online, and more than 9 hours after I was trying to get a statement from them… denying that Robinov said anything about stopping making films with female leads. This is of coarse predictable.

About an hour ago, a fellow movie webmaster called me and said “You know how this will play out right John? They’re going to finally call you back tonight or tomorrow, deny everything or say they were taken out of context. You just know they were hoping this would just quietly go away over the weekend”.

And he was right. I don’t personally believe for one moment that Robinov never said that statement. But that’s not what is important. The important thing here is that WB is not going to adopt this stupid policy. Maybe it’s because the blogshere blew it open and forced WB into this position… or perhaps it was a statement taken out of context. Don’t matter, as long as WB doesn’t do this, then we’ve got no (more) problem with them as a studio.

So I am no longer looking for a Boycott of WB. it doesn’t matter if they WERE planning this stupid policy or not… as long as they don’t that’s all that counts.

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118 thoughts on “Warner Bros. Bans Female Lead Movies – UPDATED

  1. I am personally banning myself from seeing superhero movies with female leads….Catwoman,UltraViolet, Elektra, and Alexander the Great.

  2. Hey, cool…if we’re now taking credit for things we didn’t do, can I be known as the guy who invented sliced bread? I hear people like that stuff.

  3. Busted!!!! This is just like the paramount situation last year. Paramount took movie blog down, John got the word out, and then suddenly Parmamount was all “opps it was just an accident”. They got busted and had to do damage control. Then they accidentally took down iesb after that too.

    Good job campea

  4. ^good call.

    the update of the woman saying ‘they didnt give us a chance to first respond’ makes Nikki Finke look really bad, IMO. if she has as much influence as she supposedly does she could have made a call and let them affirm/deny at the time. I mean, it only took John here the rest of the day and I dont think he’s as big as this blog apparently is. Irresponsible journalism, Ms. Finke. Very irresponsible. If WB is telling the truth, Finke time murdered everyone involved in this thread today.

  5. I was right. I said that they would deny or recant those words…

    I’m always right. Even when I’m wrong, I’m right.

  6. I object to people patting themselves on the back just ASSUMING they made them change a policy you cant even prove existed. For all you know they simply dont realize the power of the internet and either didnt know or didnt care about nikki’s blog. i’d also remind you this article came just before the weekend. of course a major studio isnt going to acknowledge such claims until they are known and/or worth addressing.

  7. This came up the other day in the Zoetrope disccusion boards. Some of the same arguements I seen (and made) over there by others and myself align with the comments here that this guy at WB needs a good sock to stuff in his piehole.

    I also agree that if this is indeed the new policy at WB, the other studios should take some advantage of this, and start greenlighting films or looking to that audience which WB has chosen to avoid. Which is to say, any audience. When I go see a film, it does not matter who is in the lead or not. If it’s a good film, it is a good film. If it is a bad film…

    Myself, I don’t understand WB’s reasoning. I heard about how supposedly “no one” wants to see butt kicking ladies, but “Kill Bill” was a success. We had TV shows like “Buffy”, we even got “Bionic Woman” back…Sarah Connor is on the way. Then, there’s the non-action roles. As pointed out above “The Devil Wears Prada” was a huge hit.

    Oh, can I say one title? Can I? Can I? Gio, have you heard of this film?

    It was called….
    Million Dollar Baby

    But, out of curiousity….L have to ask. If anyone knows the answer, please say so.

    How many films has Warner’s turned down in the last five to ten years that had a female lead that became a hit with another studio and/or got oscar nominations/wins (which helps out revenue for the film afterword)?

    As for boycotting WB…I won’t boycott Batman Begins. I’ll tell you why. See, come June, I believe there’s a number of strikes going on? When strikes happen, doesn’t it give studios an excuse to clean some house?

    You heard me right.
    This Robinov fella might just be losing his parking space by June.
    If it were me running WB, I might not even wait that long to get rid of the clown.

  8. Excellent news! And well done John. They obviously got caught with their pants down and have been in damage control all day! You and the other websites did put wb in this corner and you brought about positive change! Good job to you all!

  9. I cant change it, but I dont like how you continue to maintain that Robidov made that statement. you have no evidence, just hearsay, and the studio has denied it and pointed at their film schedule as evidence to the contrary. I think you’re simply believing what you want to believe, and that their slowness in handling the situation is not good evidence AT ALL.

    I mean, Kerry took forever to address the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, does that mean everything they said against him was true?

  10. Some blogs are reporting a response by WB:
    Thank you for your email. The claims being made on blogs regarding Mr. Robinov, Warner Bros. and female casting decisions are untrue. Our 2008 film slate, which includes at least three motion pictures with female leads and casts, underscores our commitment to telling good stories regardless of gender.
    Thank you,
    Warner Bros. Customer Service”

    Source: http://blogs.feministsf.net/?p=241#comment-74438

  11. John, I’m fully on board with some of your comments here. There should be more stronger films being made by women starring women that are for a wider audience. No problem there at all.

    But Nikki Finke as a source. Shit. The woman has near ZERO credibility in the film circles I happen to swim in. Good a shit-stirring yes, but she’s a gossip hound, people magazine crap ‘journalist’ From what I’ve read of her, damn near the anti-christ if you get on her bad side!

  12. To everyone posting here that they will now feel justified in illegally downloading Warner Bros. movies because of this debacle, what the hell are you thinking? I don’t think that the FBI will see the justification there. If you’re not going to pay for the movies because you’re up in arms over this topic, you shouldn’t watch them at all, free or not. That would be like someone protesting McDonalds for selling beef from poor helpless cows they’ve slaughtered only to go home and kill their own cow for dinner, feeling justified because they didn’t pay anyone for it. You’re totally contradicting yourselves if you’re not willing to pay for a movie because you’re against the studio, but you still watch it and enjoy it anyway.

  13. Yes, it’s a stupid position but boycotting isn’t the answer. Instead, you should be calling on other studios to introduce more female-lead films, particularly ones which appeal to the male-lead fans.

    Not Romantic Comedies, but ACTION, proper action, more Jason Bourne than Lara Croft. Who wouldn’t want to see a female Jason Bourne?

    They also need to make more “Aliens” style female lead roles available.

    Male leads are more profitable because they’re happy to show leading men getting dirtied, bloodied etc. This shoe-horns women into boring romance/comedy roles.

  14. People just let studios get away with doing whatever they want, and that’s why they keep pulling this sort of shit.

    WB movies are dead to me.

    Odd that they haven’t got back to you yet.

  15. God, i hate having to work in a place that blocks most websites. I’m always missing the big news when it hits.

    While i feel that this might be the voice of this one man and not the viewpoint of the whole studio (because y’know, when you’re a head exec, you can speak for everyone who works for you), and the poor schmoes like Chris Nolan who are just trying to make their movies will suffer for such a boycott, i will support it. I will not support WB until they do the right thing and realise how insidious such a position is.

    I’m not saying anything new here but the big budget, female lead movies of the past have, for the most part, had one thing in common; they were shit. It has been said on the movie blog podcast that Wonder Woman would have been the true test and it seems that WB have killed that film (if not before, they sure have now). A good film is a good film and i believe that well promoted films that get good buzz……..make money. Call me crazy, call me a simpleton but that’s what i believe. I cannot believe we live in an age where sex is considered an issue.

    But y’know something else? This move by WB won’t last long. Can you imagine the amount of actresses (and maybe male talent too) who will boycott WB while this regime is in place? I would like to think that all of them would. This is going to blow up in WB’s face because they’re not looking at the big picture, which is ironic isn’t it? ;)

  16. I too notice most of the favorite female movie characters among many groups of people are always either action heroes, or secondary characters in male action hero type movies.
    ie. the Bride, Alabama from True Romance, Lola, Nikita, Leeloo…

    compare that to say, this list:

    asking the average Internet blog reader, I think they’d be wayyyyy more likely to list Ripley than they would Annie Hall. Even among the more artsy I list I just put up, count how few of them are actually LEADING roles. the ones that stand out are supporting roles… or she devil villains, ie Raymonds mother in Manchurian Candidate, Nurse Ratched from Cuckoos Nest

  17. The thing is, as soon as someone makes a hit movies with a female character in the lead Robinov will change his mind. Only thing is it won’t be then who makes it.

    Warners have alway been one to follow the crowd as opposed to break new ground. I suppose JLA is technically a new type of superhero film, but then they were also going to make Batman vs Superman with Wolfgang Petersen at one point but chickened out so it could happen again.


    Why is it that so many of the references towards GOOD female lead performances are rooted in action? Not to sound like a real shit disturber, but this just sounds like boys wanting women in roles in which they act masculine and shoot guns.

  19. 56. Washington replies at 8th October 2007, 10:41 am :

    I have a big problem with believing anything that has Nikki Finke as the main source. Regular readers of David Poland’s columns know that she’s quite the shit-stirrer.

    ya i have to agree nikki finke is a shit stirrer….whether or not this info is real or not im sure they will quickly issue a p.r. release saying that this isnt what they ment……and , well death proof did suck my ass…..and i can see where someone would compare DP with RD…..THEY BASICALLY HAVE THE SAME THING GOING ON EXCEPT ONE WAS BETTER LOLOLOL…..PS I HAVE TO ADMITT THAT MOST OF THE MOVIES I HAVE SEEN WITH WOMEN LEADS TEND TO SUCK…BLAME HOLLYWOOD…BRING ON MORE SIGOURNEY WEAVER…LINDA HAMILTON…..SHIT JODIE FOSTER IN A GOOD MOVIE….ALL THE OTHER GREAT ACTRESSES TOO….FUCK THIS ANGELINA JOLIE CRAP….SHE IS HOT BUT, IT TAKES AWAY FROM HER ACTING IMO…..VIVA LE [email protected]@

  20. No, Zodiac was a garbbled mess that never found it’s point of reference, kept shifting charcter perspectives and never brought a sense of focus to the story.

    The problem with Zodiac wasn’t 4 guys sitting around talking (which would have been another problem), but rather a bunch of guys running around willy nilly with no sense of story or pace.

  21. Jay C.

    John didn’t like ZODIAC and that had a lot people talking (most of whome were men) lol.

    I didn’t like Death Proof either but I liked Planet Terror and I did like the female characters in Planet Terror a lot more.

  22. “Why?”

    why not? with this articles momentum it would be timely and more people would read it. and because i just want to see what you’d choose – be it surprisingly ‘girly’ movies, or action movies with ladies in the lead such as Run Lola Run.

  23. John, im a guy from Mexico City, read your blog a lot, and here is my opinion.

    Its so stupid the statment that this guy just made, im 100% with you. The movie sucks with or without women on screen, or men, or animals. Doesnt care the gender of the character, its all about the story. It´s almost as if i open a store, and i just go sayin “i dont hire women cause they have kids”. I have a little blog, and translate all this note…


    Hope WB Regrets this… and lets make the voice loud and clear.

  24. No, one of your main problems with Spider-man 3 was the character of Mary Jane. Another woman!

    John, don’t worry. I’m not ‘reading in’ to anything. It was meant to be a humourous observation. Nobody is saying you hate women.

    But when it comes to Death Proof, I do believe many people didn’t like it because of the fact that it was full of girls talking.

  25. I think this thing is begin completely knee-jerked. WB doesn’t seem to be talking about eliminating lead movie roles for women (women will continue to have lead roles/co-starring roles, etc.). As a side note, your list of “Women Moneymaker” films (save for Flightplan) were not billed to a single actress or were ensembles.

    I’d go so far as to say we’re talking about WB not investing in single billing- hanging their hat on a movie with one lead and no ancillary actor/actress draw. They are, after all a business- and if they hope to get a return on their investment and it’s not working out- they can look to other type projects. I don’t see the big deal- this whole thing seems shrill.

  26. Jay and Goon,

    If you WANT to read into something, there’s nothing I can do to stop you. Not once in those quotes did I suggest the problem with death proof was that those characters were women. Nor was my problem with Spider-Man 3 the fact that Peter was a guy. They were 2 sets of horrible female characters. The problems was the “horrible” part, not the “female” part.

  27. with those quotes at his disposal I find it completely reasonable Jay came to those conclusions.

    John, make a main page post of your favorite female leading films.

  28. What I’d like to see is WB hold a press conference on Fox or something, and have some guy dressed as Bugs Bunny be their spokesman and tell everyone “this his all been a big misunderstanding.” I love you MaryJane…toketoketoke

    p.s. Hopefully this sacks the idea of a Wonderwoman movie.

  29. If Warner Bros. don’t want to accept scripts that involve female leads, then that’s their problem. It means that most of the other good female lead films go to other companies to make a profit off of.
    It seems that Warner Bros. are choosing the wrong scripts and finding someone else to blame, in this case the films themselves.

  30. Jay,

    The comparison was to “The View” because the view is 4 women sitting around talking about pointless nonsense. As was Grindhouse. Had Grindhouse had 4 boring men sitting around talking about nothing, i probably would have compared it to “Off the record” (A Canadian show for all my american friends)

  31. if death proof was about a bunch of guys instead and all their conversations were ala reservoir dogs style. i think i might have liked it. but seeing as it was chicks in the first place it was destined for shit. destined. nobody watched chicks talk but chicks.

  32. John,

    From your review:

    “I was looking forward to 90 minutes of Kurt Russell kicking ass, humping chicks and staring down armies with his most ferocious stare. What we got instead was “Girls who like to Talk: The Movie”. Boring as hell.”

    From Your ‘Worst 10 Films of 2007″ list:

    “Seeing how the movie is nothing but a set of four chicks sitting around talking about totally irrelevant stuff, only to later be replaced by ANOTHER 4 chicks who just sit around talking about irrelevant stuff… I suggest they change the name of this boring ass film to “THE VIEW: The Movie”.”

    Why would you say that Death Proof is like The View? Why not just comment on it being a group of uninteresting characters? Seems to me like a reference to a group of women sitting around chatting. Am I misunderstanding this? This isn’t just you. Many critics don’t just simply write off the characters as flawed or uninteresting. It always comes back to ‘girl talk’. Sorry if I misunderstood your many comments on this film, but referring to it as “THE VIEW: The Movie” certainly seems to reference the fact that it was about the girl talk, not simply the characters.

  33. Hey Jay,

    Oh I totally agree that Death Proof being a horrible movie is a subjective thing. Absolutely. BUT… the reasons for myself and many other for hating the film have nothing to do with it being female characters… but rather because WE FOUND the characters to be flawed in general in a seriously flawed movie.

  34. It should NOT be ban all female lead movies. It SHOULD be ban all female lead movies being PRODUCED by Joel Silver: The Brave One, The Invasion, The Reaping, and Gothika. All shit BUT also all produced by Joel Silver.

  35. Well no, i’m not confusing the issue. I’m not even making commentary on the issue. (Or the ‘rumour’ of an issue) I’m just making an observation that is, to be honest, more of a joke than anything else.

    “The problem was never that those characters were women. The problem was they they were bad characters in a horrible movie.”

    Well then you’re getting into the subjective side of things. I know many people who felt they were great characters and that Death Proof was a great movie. (will definitely be in my top five of the year)

    Either way, it doesn’t mean I can’t find this somewhat ironic in even the slightest, humorous way.

  36. Frankly i just don’t care enough about female lead roles to really give a shit. I’m not gonna pass up a movie iv been looking forward to over it.

  37. Anybody willing to bet that there will be a statement retraction by tomorrow saying that they were “taken out of context”?

  38. Hey Jay,

    You’re confusing the issue. The problem was never that those characters were women. The problem was they they were bad characters in a horrible movie. There is no equating the two.

  39. “I can’t believe you’d even try to compare R.D. to D.P. on that level. Yikes. Oh well, to each their own.”

    Well the comparison is pretty obvious, seeing as the scene in which Zoe Bell talks with her friends is intentionally shot in the same style as Reservoir Dogs opening diner scene.

    “That’s a horrible example and completely unrelated.”

    A horrible example of what? I was just saying I found it funny that so many people who complained about those female leads are now heading a major revolt against a studio.

    You can certainly count me out of the boycott, but I certainly don’t disagree that it’s a ridiculous move on behalf of WB. (Again, if it’s even true) However, based on the recent response of female led films by the mainstream public, maybe movie go-ers are partially responsible?

  40. This is really stupid I can’t believe they would actually do something like this. I hope that some of he A-List Actors in the business really stand up and say something because this is bullshit.

    I love Ridley Scott and James Cameron movies but Alien and Aliens would not have been so god if it wasn’t for Weaver.

  41. So, that means no WonderWoman??? hahaha they say something one day, and the next they change their minds, so i won’t be surprised if we see a Catwoman 2 next year.

  42. Hey Jay,

    That’s a horrible example and completely unrelated. Yes, I hated Death Proof, and mainly because it was 90 of 4 women sitting around talking about nothing, followed by 4 more women sitting around talking about nothing… but that was one movie. You’re trying to compare single movies with general principles. It’s far too much of a stretch.

    To answer your question, had it been men instead of women, it would have been even worse. I can’t believe you’d even try to compare R.D. to D.P. on that level. Yikes. Oh well, to each their own.

  43. What?! I mean really What? I am praying that this was som bad joke done outloud and has then snowballed into what it is now. It s 2007 WB, come on.

  44. The supidity of people never ceases to amaze me WB should be, and I hope they are, ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of action. If this is true Jeff Robinov needs to automatically be fired for his narrowed minded thinking and talking out of his ass.

    The WB needs to respond quickly to this accusation because the longer they wait the more I think this new policy is true. They have to realize by enacting this policy they’ll be loosing more than women’s money?

    There are few movies WB have scheduled to release that I’m looking forward to seeing. Right now the only movies on their schedule I want to see are The Dark Knight & the next Harry Potter …so unless WB decides to retract this nonesense I’m going to have a very disappointed child come next summer. Still, it’s more important to teach the value of standing up for you believe in.

  45. Not that I don’t agree that this is ridiculous (if it’s true), but I just find something oddly funny about so many people who complained that Death Proof was nothing but ‘a bunch of sluts/bitches/women blabbing for an hour and a half’ coming to the defense of lead female characters to the extent of a boycott.

    I wonder how well received that movie would’ve been if it was men blabbing on for hours? Just take a look at Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction and you’ll get your answer I suppose.

  46. I have a big problem with believing anything that has Nikki Finke as the main source. Regular readers of David Poland’s columns know that she’s quite the shit-stirrer.

  47. I officially have no hope for JLA. To think a few years ago, the whole Superman Lives story was the worst development hell story I have ever read!

  48. I have to agree this is a BS policy, but i cant boycott WB…..I will just force myself to see two movies from them, TDK and I am Legend…..

  49. whatever, they’ll change their minds as soon as the new Elizabeth movie comes out and makes millions. So a boycott really isn’t worth the time.

  50. A Hollywood studio-executive being a sexist pig? What.a.SHOCK! Seriously though, that’s a pretty bullshit “policy.” It sounds more like they’re upset they weren’t “rewarded” for bankrolling quiet a few female-oriented films this year.

  51. This is the best news in awhile. The only female lead films I wanna see are the ones that involve them dropping top and getting plowed three ways to sunday.

  52. How can you order something like that and not expect it to get out? what a flaming moron.

    …and, Jon, this will get you SOO laid the next time you are in LA =)

  53. So pretty much everyone is upset at Warner Bros for saying something out loud that they should’ve kept to themselves. I agree it’s a stupid thing to “say” but it’s not necessarily a stupid thing to “do”. They are a business and unfortunately the latest crop of female actresses then these people are more famous for their addictions and partying rather than their acting chops.

    That said, to think WB’s statement is written in stone is silly. If a good female driven adventure comes out (honestly I’m trying hard to think of an example) then they’ll do it IF IF IF IF IF it is profitable. But if we’re just going to get another Tomb Raider or DOA then I dont’ blame them for passing.

  54. um………..wtf…….wtf,,,wait i dont get it…..this doesnt make no sense…….hey im as politically incorrect as it gets…hell i know that my way of thinking is wrong a lot…..but i mean wtf WB this is just plain retarded….i mean hey i think women in most lead roles suck but wtf what if it was RED SONYA………you mother fuckers WARNER BROTHERS…..i aint gonna boycott cause its like w/e but hell i bootleg movies anyways so that actually is bad for WB……..BUT REALLY WB YOUR FUCKING RETARDED FOR EVEN LETTING THIS TYPE OF P.R. GET OUT…..SOMEONE WILL GET FIRED!

  55. I don’t mind is a studio looks at a script with a female lead and says “I don’t think this will work”. I don’t even care if they look at 100 of them and each time, for whatever reason, say “I don’t think this will work”. But to flat out say “no women”, and even refuse to look at scripts with female leads is just evil.

    Bravo Movie Blog for being willing to bring this to light and calling warner out on this. I support you 100%

  56. Sorry. Not boycotting.

    I agree that Warner’s position (IF this is true) is asinine. But I’m not denying myself The Dark Knight beacuse of this. Some of you see this as a terrible injustice that harms the fabric of society. You’re vastly overestimating the effect WB has on our culture. They’re just a movie studio! If WB stays on this course, here’s what will happen:

    WB stops making movies with female leads. Other studios filling this niche in the marketplace see increased box office numbers for their more successful female-lead films, as they are no longer competing with WB offerings. Whether WB changes their stance or not is irrelevant. Other studios will fill the void. Society will not collapse. Women will not suddenly lose the right to vote. Womens’ career options will not suddenly dry up to just homemaker, secretary and maid positions like the 1950’s.

    I’m all for speaking out against WB’s bonehead position. Negative publicity will stop this faster than anything else, and sites like this should spearhead this action. But I’ve heard the term “knee-jerk” used to describe Finke, and any boycott is just that: knee-jerk.

    Sorry John, but if I have to go elsewhere for my Dark Knight/JLA news, then I’m not likely to come back. This isn’t a threat, it’s just acknowledging the truth that if I get comfortable elsewhere, that’s where I’ll probably stay.

  57. Hell yes Boycott! If sites like this one don’t call for action, then corporate entities like W.B. will just sit there quitely, never address it and just let it quietly go away.

    I agree with Salem. This isn’t coming from some hack blogger writing from their basement. This is coming from an LA Weekly writer. Act on it, demand W.B. speak to this. Call for action. Otherwise nothing ever gets done.

    This isn’t reactionary as some try to say John, this is appropriate action if you actually want to see something get done or addressed. I fucking love Batman Begins, but I’m not putting one dollar into the pockets of that movie company if they insist on purposefully taking women out of leading roles.

  58. Well, we all know that once this comes out, and gets even more publicity, WB will recant their what their rules. We all know they’ll deny it.

    Either way, NOTHING is stopping me from watching The Dark Knight. Nothing.

  59. I think Goon makes an important point here. The fact of the matter is, despite this reporter’s credentials, this is all still hearsay. It’s way too soon to be storming the castle with torches and pitchforks on the word of one person and three unknown sources. This knee-jerk challenge to your peers to join this boycott comes across as reactionary, and a bit dodgy to say the least.
    Is it important to kick up a fuss and follow this story… most definitely. And if it comes to pass that this rumour can be confirmed, then it would be the time to consider a boycott.

  60. I’m all for solidarity and equal rights guys, but sod that; I’m not missing Batman for anyone! The depth of my shallowness even appalls me, but there it is.

  61. while I think Henrik just got himself into a heap of trouble for his last paragraph, his initial sentence is a startling point that would make good discussion – as in, when is a studio responsible for box office failure, and when is it a failure of the public to recognize quality.

  62. And Goon has a point about waiting and seeing what WB has to say. If this online outcry gets loud enough, mainstream media will pick it up and WB will have no choice but to address it.

    And may I just say, the issue isn’t having a female in the lead. The issue is not writing meaty roles for women. I’ve yet to see a year where the Best Actress’s role was jucier or more difficult than the Best Actor. If those categories were combined into one, the males would win every single year. There are some badass women out there who can act their asses off(hello, Maria Bello), but studios aren’t putting any effort into scripts for them.

  63. Great so now I have to boycott Paramount for going against their word on Blu-Ray and now Warner for being absurdly stupid and retarded. What the hell is going on people?!?!?! Surely more films for female leads should be encouraged..!!! Oh my GOD this is so damn absurd!!!

  64. If youwant toboycott their movies you should also boycott their TV-productions, which includes Smallville and Supernatural

  65. well John, she may not be outright lying. like i said, i’m seeing people call her a knee-jerk. for all we know she got a set of information and had a different reaction to it than what was actually said, or a couple angry producers butted heads with a studio exec who indeed discouraged a lead female movie and they fed it to her as much more. it could be a number of things. im not calling this lady a liar, but i do think her character is audacious enough, and ive already seen her describe herself as someone who ‘breaks’ stories – she could have rushed to break a story without all the information.

  66. Hey Goon,

    I don’t blame you at all for wanting to adopt a “wait and see” mentality to this. Fair enough.

    With regards to Finke, some people don’t like her opinions… but I haven’t seen anyone outright call her a liar.

  67. I like batman, but I like my society more. I really hope wb puts out some sort of explanation for all this, cause I’d hate to miss dark Knight. But I’ll skip it if this is true

  68. Well, for the most part it should be easy to skip Warner Bros. films as all they’ve been releasing lately is utter crap. Sure it may be tough by the time summer rolls around with Batman, but beyond that, skipping Warner films is easy, cause they don’t care about the product or image they are putting out there.
    IF this revelation about the top brass of Warner Bros is true, then it’s shocking and frightening.
    As has often been pointed out on this website, and others, if studios actually paid attention to their product (which is all they see them as now, it bothers me thinking that perhaps films like Citizen Kane,Casablanca and countless others wouldn’t have been greenlit because they weren’t guaranteed a big opening weekend), refining it to make it the best possible film, instead of aiming for the best immediate return on investment (sure financially there’s a point there, but look how much money some films have garnered over the years, the decades, while most of the disposable films of the past few years, easily since the advent of the 21st century, if not longer, are quickly forgotten) and best possible opening weekend (before the inevitable slump due to bad word of mouth), then perhaps it wouldn’t matter who the lead was.
    I personally have no problem with a female lead or a male lead, just give me a good story!
    I’ll join this boycott if it’s proven to be accurate!

  69. Hell, I like batman, but I like my society more. This must be some sort of joke. Man I hope wb comes out with some sort of explanation for this, cause I’d hate to miss Dark Knight. But I’ll skip it for sure if this is true.

  70. …and I mean in general, accolades dont mean someone is beyond reproach. I mean, I just did a google search and there are some VERY diverse opinions out there on this woman.
    Among articles both praising her and calling her a knee jerk activist, I found this:

    I mean, I have no idea what to think of this lady. certainly nowhere near enough to put my neck on the line based on what she says and boycott something.

  71. I always thought Warner was one of the nicer studios, but this is the worst thing a studio has ever done. But boycotting Dark Knight might become a problem

  72. “She appears occasionally on radio and television commenting about the entertainment and media business and is a regular on Dennis Miller’s radio show.”

    that undoes any other accolade she’s received for me.

    half joking :P

  73. John, I know what you’re saying, but I looked at the links you provided and I dont trust them any more than you. To me its just another site linking to another site who heard from unnamed producers. Its like playing telephone, I dont know what got lost down the line, if anythings being exaggerating, and your friends havent earned my immediate trust to make a boycott decision. I really think you’re jumping the gun.

    You included caveats in your post, yet you still are calling for a boycott. You may as well have not included “i may be wrong” in there at all if you’re still taking action at this point.

  74. More on the source Nikki Finke:

    “In 2007, Finke won the Los Angeles Press Club’s Southern California Journalism Award for “Entertainment Journalist of the Year” with the judges commenting: “Reading Nikki Finke’s salaciously candid coverage of Hollywood and its inhabitants almost feels like a guilty pleasure. She mixes the news with fearless finger-wagging that’s just fun to read no matter the subject. She tackles the industry monoliths without the kiddy gloves and she seems to have command of the beat.” In 2006, Finke’s “Deadline Hollywood” columns in LA Weekly won First Place in the Alternative Weekly Awards for the category Media Reporting/Criticism, Circulation >50,000. In the 2007 AltWeekly Awards, her blog “Deadline Hollywood Daily” won Second Place.

    Finke was an Associated Press foreign correspondent in Moscow and London; Finke worked for Newsweek (as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles). Finke worked for the Los Angeles Times as a staff writer covering entertainment and features. Finke has also written for: The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour, The Washington Post, Salon.com, Premiere, and Los Angeles Magazine. She appears occasionally on radio and television commenting about the entertainment and media business and is a regular on Dennis Miller’s radio show.”

  75. @Donald

    Download it. You’re forgiven.

    And yeah, I’m not a feminazi, but this is sexist as hell. Boycott’s on…..until The Dark Knight next year. Sorry, but I gotta see that shit on the big screen.

  76. btw, for anyone wondering, WB’s upcoming movie schedule is:
    Rails & Ties, Fred Claus, August Rush, PS I Love You, I Am Legend, The Bucket List, One Missed Call, 10000 BC, Get Smart, and the Dark Knight.

  77. Hey Goon,

    You said:

    “I’d ignore a boycott from a friend who doesnt eat at East Side Marios because a person he trusts said the manager was a racist.”

    Your analogy doesn’t line up with this scenario. It would be more acqurate if you said “A friend brought me to a person he trust, who’s job it actually is to investigate racicm for the government and I heard that person say that east side mario’s is rasit.

    Finke isn’t a nobody, and you don’t just have to take my word for it… go research her yourself.

    I agree that the possibility exists that this MAY be untrue, and included such caveats in my post, but Finke is a solid source and it’s now been 10 hours since I asked for a response from WB… still silent.

    I don’t expect you to agree with me, and I totally understand you wanting to wait until you hear WB’s spinn as well.

  78. This is fucking stupid! i agree with Tarmac, would this even be legal for WB to do?

    As far as I’m concerned, Batman is off my list. I don’t like boycotts either, but this is seriously fucked up!

  79. “And by that same token, I know plenty of people who hate Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, yet find no problem with watching The Simpsons or 24.”

    very good point.

  80. Of the successful female-led films you mentioned, none of them (save possibly the ensemble musicals) were expected to be hits…they were all surprisingly successful in the way that My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a hit. Remember what studios are looking for is a return on their investment. If you were investing your cash in a mutual fund, would you go with the best expected return (even if that meant going to a fund managed by males) or would you throw all your cash behind funds managed by females (even though historically, whatever the reason, those funds have underperformed)?

    I didn’t go to see The Brave One or The Invasion because they were led by female stars — I skipped them because they looked lousy.

    Bottom line: Warner Bros. is a poorly managed studio that makes many poor decisions. This latest decision reveals they’re sexist too. Doesn’t make their films any more or less interesting to me. ‘sides, boycott’s aren’t my thing. I won’t skip the work of a director I admire simply because some stiff at the studio doesn’t think female leads draw enough of a box office return. And by that same token, I know plenty of people who hate Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, yet find no problem with watching The Simpsons or 24.

  81. I’m sorry, but I am not joining a reactionary boycott based on rumors. I don’t care how much you trust your sources, until a studio person says something or time passes and we see no projects with females in the lead, this is all just RUMOR to me, and you are here…


    other websites to join a boycott based on YOUR sources, who the other websites may not be familiar with at all. I would question any website who would join in on a boycott who doesn’t know your sources.

    Again, you’re being completely reactionary. EVEN WOMENS RIGHTS ATTORNEY GLORIA ALLDRED IS NOT BOYCOTTING YET. Her quote: “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.”

    “IF” “IF” “IF” “IF” “IF”

    and me too. IF they confirm, I would join you. Until then, I’ll ignore your call to boycott just as I’d ignore a boycott from a friend who doesnt eat at East Side Marios because a person he trusts said the manager was a racist.

  82. I like most am dying to see Batman but unfortunately now I’m gonna have to wait until the WB changes their position on this. I hope that many other fans of the franchise will also join in this boycott.

  83. HA! i thought you’d like that Michael. You’re far more likable than me… maybe you can get something out of them. Let me know what you find out.

  84. Haha.. I love the “I Call on All other… “. Very subtle.. love it. I am going to contact one of the folks I deal with at Warner Brothers for a comment on this topic and then post my own piece on it.

  85. That’s . . . beyond ridiculous! Is that even legal? Surely equal opportunities people have something to say about this.

    Oh and does anyone know what Warner Bros distribute here in the UK?

  86. Business is business, but this is too much. I want to see yummy Christian as batman again as bad as anyone so hopfully WB will smarten up and fix this, otherwise, bu-bye warner movies.

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