#ThrowbackThursday: Jennifer Garner in ‘Elektra,’ 2005

Jennifer Garner in 'Elektra,' 2005 (Ouch Press)

Jennifer Garner in ‘Elektra,’ 2005 (Ouch Press)

Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the 2005 movie “Elektra,” but per IMDB, here’s the synopsis:

Elektra the warrior survives a near-death experience, becomes an assassin-for-hire, and tries to protect her two latest targets, a single father and his young daughter, from a group of supernatural assassins.

The movie, starring Jennifer Garner in the title role, was spun off from 2003’s “Daredevil”  (which starred Garner’s eventual ex-husband Ben Affleck). “Elektra” didn’t do well at the box office: It only grossed $56M+ worldwide on a budget of $43M+.

“Elektra” would ordinarily be a footnote in the history of superhero movies, except for one thing: It’s the most recent movie starring a female superhero.

Until “Wonder Woman.”

 

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#ThrowbackThursday: “Ghostbusters,” 2016

'Ghostbusters,' 2016 (Geek)

‘Ghostbusters,’ 2016 (Geek)

2016 saw the release of the rebooted “Ghostbusters: Now With More Women!” OK, that wasn’t the actual title, but it might as well have been. The remake of the classic comedy film boasted Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the titular Ghostbusters. The film battled high expectations from all corners: nail-biting and hand-writing over whether (gasp!) funny women could open a movie, and unreasonable standards from people for whom the original 1984 movie stood as an unassailable classic.

Fortunately, the movie proved that people (and not just women) would turn out to see funny women in a remake. The film ranked second in its opening weekend with $46M+ and went on to rake in $229M+ worldwide.

Trends: All-Female Reboots

"Ghostbusters," 2016 (Geek.com)

“Ghostbusters,” 2016 (Geek.com)

The 2011 movie “Bridesmaids” was very funny, no doubt about that. The film, which starred a cadre of funny women led by Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, centered on the escapades of the titular group as they helped their friend (played by Rudolph) on the way to getting hitched. The movie was well-liked by audiences, and that showed in the revenue. At the end of the year, “Bridesmaids” ranked #14 at the domestic box office with $169M+ in revenue, and #20 in the worldwide box office with $289M+ in revenue.

But it also had an effect on movies that we’re still feeling: “Bridesmaids” convinced studios that audiences (both women and men, shocker) would see a movie with an all-woman cast. Well…duh. And now studios have sat up and taken notice.

The waves from “Bridesmaids” have hit an interesting formula: to remake a beloved movie with an all-female cast. The rationale goes that if the men liked the original, then the women will love the remake! (And there’s the assumption that the men will be dragged to the movie from their ladies, but it’s OK because it’s a nostalgic property.)

One high-profile all-female remake has already come out: this year’s “Ghostbusters.” The reboot has Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones investigate paranormal happenings in New York. The movie has a strong “Saturday Night Live” heritage: In addition to Wiig, McKinnon and Jones logging time on the show, the movie also featured current cast member Cecily Strong in a notable part. “Ghostbusters” debuted at #2 on opening weekend, and as thus far grossed $124M+ domestically and $208M+ worldwide.

Another all-female project announced recently was a reboot of the 2001 heist movie “Ocean’s 11” (which itself is a remake of the 1960 movie of the same name). Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, and Nora Lum (better known by her rap name Awkwafina) will make up the ensemble. No release date yet, but I know I’ll be seeing it in the theatre because I vote with my dollars.

It’s great to see so many movies getting made with all-female ensembles, but I can’t wait to get to the point where it’s not noteworthy anymore, but unremarkable and accepted.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: “Secretary,” 2002

Maggie Gyllenhaal in 'Secretary' (Film4)

Maggie Gyllenhaal in ‘Secretary’ (Film4)

This week, we’re examining different aspects of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in preparation for the upcoming movie. 

E. Edward Grey: Look, we can’t do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lee: Why not?

– “Secretary,” 2002

A forerunner of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie, “Secretary” was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2002 before released to a wider US audience in September that same year.

Recently released from an institution after a bout of self-harm, the socially awkward Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) takes a secretary job with eccentric lawyer E. Edward Grey (James Spader). Her submissive personality entices Grey, and the two enter into a D/s relationship. Holloway gains confidence and falls in love with her boss, while Grey struggles with his own feelings towards her and his urges.

“Secretary” was the most recent film to showcase BDSM, specifically highlighting D/s relationships, and does so fairly sympathetically. It didn’t judge, pathologize or shame its characters, but showed them growing as a result of their preferences.

According to Box Office Mojo, the film made $182K+ its opening weekend, ranking it #31 of that weekend. It was released in 11 theaters, and pulled in $16K+ on average. It ranked #70 of yearly R-rated movies of 2002, and #183 of yearly opening weekends in 2002.

Domestically, “Secretary” made $4M+, grossing 43%+ of its budget. It did better in the foreign market, making $5.2M+ for a gross of 56%. The film took in $9.3M worldwide.