‘Pan’ bombs at box office, proving movies with male leads can’t get an audience

Warner Sisters big budget movie “Pan” cost $150 million to make, yet had just a $15.5 opening, proving that movies with male protagonists can’t attract an audience.

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Groups advocating for boy empowerment and claiming sexism have been asking Hollywood to make more movies with strong male protagonists, but after the financial failure of “Pan,” it’s obvious that movies starring boys aren’t profitable.

A Warner Sisters spokesperson tells Reel Girl, “Unfortunately, while both boys and girls want to see movies starring girls, only boys are interested in stories about boys.”

Perhaps “Pan” went too far trying to please special interest groups who want more male characters in movies. Female characters are left out of “Pan” almost completely. In one scene, Blackbeard, the male villain, who commands a boat of all male pirates, addresses thousands of all male orphan-slaves, saying his audience belongs to “every race, creed, and color, every age and era.” He never mentions females aren’t represented in the crowd at all.

While the movie does feature Tiger Lily, a white woman playing a Native American inspired role, one major female speaking part apparently isn’t enough to bring girls in to see the movie. Warner Sisters will be sticking to mostly female casts in the future: “It comes down to dollars.”

Reel Girl rates Pan ***SS*** for Gender Stereotyping.

Please don’t comment to me about how Tiger Lily or Peter’s mother (who has about two lines) are feminist characters. They represent typical Minority Feisty, a trope seen in almost every children’s movie made today where there will one, two, or three (a minority of)  “strong female characters” so we’re somehow not supposed to notice that all others in the movie, including the protagonist of his eponymous movie, are male.

In case you didn’t get it, the point of this post is that movies starring males and directed by males fail all the time, but unlike with female stars or directors, the inability to bring in money is never attributed to gender.

34 thoughts on “‘Pan’ bombs at box office, proving movies with male leads can’t get an audience

  1. Pretty funny. Either way, it makes me chuckle when the excuse is used that a movie bombs because it has a female lead. There have been some really good movies with female leads, but they weren’t huge blockbuster films. I mean, George Lucas ruined Star Wars because he was crap at writing script (which is so apparent if you watch the original films), not because Natalie Portman is a bad actress (though Hayden was horrible because he can’t act and the script was bad). A lot of movies that should have been great bombed with male leads because they were poorly written with bad actors *cough*every Spiderman movie ever *cough*

  2. it only proves bad writing begets a bad movie…. a script with a bad producer is going to produce a bad movie…….
    when your target audience is 14 yo and under MALES, they are going to DOWNLOAD the movie off the internet…..
    IT only goes to show you that HOLLYWOOD is DEAD… not that the MOVIE is bad.

  3. It’s a Peter Pan movie. It’s been done when I was a child with ‘Hook’
    I don’t think the problem is gender roles in the movie are what made it fail. It’s a remake. They are either a hit or miss.
    They just did that live Peter Pan earlier this year and geniuses thought they could piggy back off that success.
    Why did it fail? Because it’s been done and spending 15$ plus for a ticket and the movie experience is ridiculous for something you already know story and it’s really nothing new. NOT because of it was a male director or lead.
    What other movies came out the same weekend?
    But what do I know, I’m just a lowly white privalaged male who doesn’t know any better.

  4. one of the stupidest articles ive ever read. The biggest box office hits in the history of film have been with male leads.

    as it stands both male and female leads can be very successful, however catering to multiple audiences if obviously paramount if one hopes to achieve box office success.

  5. “the point of this post is that movies starring males and directed by males fail all the time”

    I hope you don’t mean that movies made by males and starring males fail at the box office all the time, because that would be a very dumb thing to say. A claim like this would be a tremendous insult to common sense.

    Now if by fail you mean movies made by males and starring males fail to add more female characters or something like that then yes, i completely agree with you.

    • Hi Frank,

      I meant what I wrote, movies starring and directed by males fail all the time. Flops. No success at box office.Do a Google search if you don’t believe me.

      Margot

      Margot

      • I really hope that you’re joking, because if you’re not, then you have got to be one of the dumbest persons on the internet.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films

        http://www.the-numbers.com/movie/records/All-Time-Worldwide-Box-Office

        http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/world/

        http://www.listchallenges.com/top-50-highest-grossing-films-of-all-time

        All the highest grossing movies ever made were all made by males and all star mostly males.

        • I’m not sure you are hearing Margot. Her statement: “There are movies made by males and starring males that fail financially,” is pretty simple and obviously true. Even if “Pan” were the only one, that would still be enough to confirm her statement.

          She did not say ALL movies made by and starring males fail, or that MOST movies made by and starring males fail, or that MORE movies made by and starring males fail than those made by or starring females. She just said SOME. That’s it. That’s all. What are you even arguing about?

          • If that’s the case then why didn’t she wrote this.

            “the point of this post is that SOME movies starring males and directed by males fail once in a while”

            But instead she wrote this.

            “the point of this post is that movies starring males and directed by males fail all the time”

            This can be misinterpreted by some like myself.

            I apologize if i may have sounded rude.

          • And no, I don’t mean once in a while! It is not rare or unusual for movies to fail and most movies star and are directed by men.

          • Margot, if you’re talking about SOME movies and not ALL, then wouldn’t it have made more sense if you had written.

            “the point of this post is that movies starring males and directed by males fail SOME of the time”

            Doesn’t that sound better? I apologize for accusing you of being an dumb person, i really do.

            I’m sorry for that.

          • Hi Frank,

            Writing that something happens all the time is commonly used in the English language to imply not uncommon– “happens all the time.” You’ve never heard that before??? Of course I didn’t mean every single movie starring or directed by s man has failed. And no, I don’t like your edit, it sounds like bad writing to me.

            Margot

  6. Movies with male leads, like Harry Potter, Passion of the Christ and pretty much everything from Marvel? Yeah, that nonsense hasn’t grossed dollar one.

    “A Warner Sisters spokesperson tells Reel Girl, “Unfortunately, while both boys and girls want to see movies starring girls, only boys are interested in stories about boys.”

    Funny, if you reverse the genders in this sentence, feminists would be demanding that everyone start flipflopping and supporting girls, rather than just abandoning the gender entirely.

    • Hi wade,

      Huh? Genders are reversed all the time in the real world, that’s why I wrote this post! One example from the LA Times

      When movies starring females or directed by females don’t make money, it is often blamed on gender, see this article from the LA Times: Disney is wringing the pink out of its princess movies.

      After the less-than-fairy-tale results for its most recent animated release, “The Princess and the Frog,” executives at the Burbank studio believe they know why the acclaimed movie came up short at the box office.
      “Boys didn’t want to see a movie with “princess” in the title.

      This time, Disney is taking measures to ensure that doesn’t happen again. The studio renamed its next animated film with the girl-centric name “Rapunzel” to the less gender-specific “Tangled.”

      The makeover of “Rapunzel” is more than cosmetic. Disney can ill afford a moniker that alienates half the potential audience, young boys, who are needed to make an expensive family film a success”

      More about why boys won’t see movies about girls, thus Hollywood won’t make such movies, link here (and all over the internet)

      http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/09/business/la-fi-ct-disney9-2010mar09

  7. This proves nothing of the sort, it’s a bad attempt at trying to make an even worst point. Plenty of films with male leads have made huge money, plenty of female leader have made huge money. The sexe of the title character does not impact how good a movie does at a box office. And if that were the case please explain to me how movies like the avengers, the expandable, django unchained all did so well with minimal female roles? How about you use your influence and power as a writer to bring up real issues and problems rather than make up lame click bait article?

    • Hi Matt,
      When movies starring females or directed by females don’t make money, it is often blamed on gender, see this article from the LA Times: Disney is wringing the pink out of its princess movies.

      After the less-than-fairy-tale results for its most recent animated release, “The Princess and the Frog,” executives at the Burbank studio believe they know why the acclaimed movie came up short at the box office.
      “Boys didn’t want to see a movie with “princess” in the title.

      This time, Disney is taking measures to ensure that doesn’t happen again. The studio renamed its next animated film with the girl-centric name “Rapunzel” to the less gender-specific “Tangled.”

      The makeover of “Rapunzel” is more than cosmetic. Disney can ill afford a moniker that alienates half the potential audience, young boys, who are needed to make an expensive family film a success”

      More about why boys won’t see movies about girls, thus Hollywood won’t make such movies here (and all over the internet)

      http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/09/business/la-fi-ct-disney9-2010mar09

    • They were thinking that the major character that makes the dualism of Peter and Wendy work, was unnecessary if they supply a lot of fake Natives, pirates and CGI.

      I believe its called not thinking.

  8. I think it has less to do with the gender of the lead than it does the fact that the movie had next to no marketing and it just…looked bad. Worse than bad- boring. Re-hashing of old storybook tales is starting to wear on the public consciousness to the point that without being totally inundated in the media, no-one is even going to notice it.

  9. Loved this! I was very disappointed by the looks of this movie, too. Did they really think the people who love Peter Pan lore would want to see this movie without at least the all-important audience surrogate (Wendy)?

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