When the Melissa McCarthy led Tammy came out, it made less than a lot of analysts predictions and lead to a lot of disappointed rumbling. This is surprising because the film made a lot of money at the domestic box office, relative to its budget (it cost $20 million to make, and took in a little more than that in just its opening weekend.)
So why were people so disappointed? Probably because Melissa McCarthy’s films have a history of ridiculously overperforming. (The Heat, Bridesmaids, Identity Thief). For Melissa McCarthy, incredible return on investment is the norm.
When I examined the 100 highest performing films in 2013 and 2012, as well as films released so far in 2014, a pretty clear pattern emerged: female-led films leave male-led films in the dust, once you pay attention to their production budget. Melissa McCarthy is just an extreme example of this trend. I’ve included highlights from my analysis under the read more.
TLDR; Looking at box office take relative to production budget, female-led movies have overperformed for the past three years.
“In another big win for Universal Pictures, Lucy took first place with over $44 million… Lucy's success can be attributed to a few factors. First, the movie had an intriguing premise (what if we could use more than 10% of our brains?) that was front-and-center in action-packed, visually-stunning advertisements. It helped that actress Scarlett Johansson's lead role here seemed like a natural extension of the butt-kicking brand she's built as Black Widow in The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”—
I’m not saying Lucy is a feminist triumph or a good movie, I’m saying it made Universal Pictures a lot of money this weekend. The action-stuffed trailers were totally deceptive but capitalized on action star appeal Johansson has created as Black Widow. Universal stuck that Marvel Studios brand onto its French artsy sci-fi flick and spun it into millions of dollars Marvel won’t get. Because Marvel maybe doesn’t believe a Black Widow movie could make money. Because Hollywood is still afraid of superheroines.
Look: Marvel says we should vote with our voices, if we yell and we yell one day they’ll hear us, probably, some time after Ant-Man 2: Still No Janet Van Dyne. What happens, though, if someone else takes the niche they’ve created and ignored, and makes that money first?
“I want to tell you, we take you seriously. You don’t understand the power that you have over what we do day in and day out. I work twenty hours a day to make sure that the imagery we bring to film is the best we can bring you. When we do see more Captain Marvels, more Gamoras, more Black Widows, we see that and it matters. The women and the men behind us care about what you love and what you want represented. Take that to heart because we take you to heart!”—Victoria Alonso, Marvel Studios EVP of Visual Effects
“Although [Perlman] didn’t write any other feature film, she did write a treatment for a Black Widow spin-off that Marvel apparently liked. She was asked if that was something she hopes to take a step further sometime in the future. “I do hope it gets developed….The Black Widow project didn’t get to the script phase, it was just a treatment but it was pretty in depth, and hopefully one day we’ll see it, Fingers crossed!”—Screenwriter Nicole Perlman On Choosing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Over Other Properties [x] (via fyeahmcublackwidow)
“And then Jessica Drew is much younger than Ben, but because she’s been through the Ultimate Universe, she’s lost a lot. The Ultimate Universe is a pretty grim place. Tons and tons of characters — friends of hers, people she’s fought with have died, and died for good. There aren’t a lot of resurrections in the Ultimate U. The city was destroyed and flooded, and her Peter Parker is dead. In a lot of ways, she has a more mature outlook on life than Ben Reilly does, because she’s lost a lot more.”—Mike Costa on the just-announced Scarlet Spiders miniseres
Hi! I was wondering if you know what Rooskaya means?
Rooskaya (русская) means Russian. It’s the feminine form of the adjective. When Yelena first confronts Natasha, she’s full of patriot identities:
My name is Yelena Belova. And I am a student from the Red Room in Moscow. You remember it, then? Yes, I thought you would. And yes, it is still active. You are its greatest legend, Natalia Romanova, even though you are no longer truly Russian.
Natasha calls Yelena rooskaya because Yelena says that Natasha is not.
Marvel Studios has apparently hired one Chris McCoy to rework Nicole Perlman’s Guardians of the Galaxy screenplay. This isn’t uncommon in Hollywood, and there’s a good chance her name will still appear in the credits, as Zak Penn’s did on The Avengers. From what I can tell, she was probably hired for GotG based on two other screenplays she had written about the American space program (do I sense a potential Captain Carol Marvel screenplay here?). Chris McCoy’s wheelhouse is quirky humor, which is no doubt necessary for a film containing Rocket Raccoon and Groot.
However, this news came with an intriguing tidbit I hadn’t heard before:
He’ll rework a well-regarded draft by Nicole Perlman, who as part of Marvel’s now-defunct writing program so impressed executives with a Black Widow script that she was brought in to work on “Thor.”
So Perlman’s Black Widow script was so impressive they brought her on crew (uncredited) for Thor, and gave her the first crack at a Guardians of the Galaxy script. And The Avengers showed audiences what a badass Natasha is.
So how much longer do we have to wait for a Black Widow movie, Marvel?
She does mention the KGB in the movies, which is an odd fit with her apparent age?
I think this is both shorthand for “the only Russian spy agency American audiences recognize” and a hint at how young Natasha was when she was snatched into training. There’s also a huge comic book precedent for KGB shadow groups existing after the dissolution of the USSR. For example, there are at least two Red Rooms, the “legitimate” one that trained Yelena Belova, operating under the GRU, and a separate rogue organization with the original KGB leadership and technology. Comics are comics and need commies to be the bad guys forever.
It’s also possible we’re all overthinking it and the scriptwriters just hecked up. But in the Johansson quote I just pulled, she says Natasha is in her “late twenties, early thirties” and that she’s “been involved with the Russian KGB”— so I don’t think we’re meant to read this as a huge and secret contradiction.
“Even though the audience remains unclear, discovering the character’s past, it’s important for me as an actor to know where I’m coming from, what my backstory is. Of course the character, the Widow, has this complex backstory, with many different incarnations. For me it’s important to think of the Widow as being a very contemporary character. She’s not standing the test of time, we’re talking about somebody who’s in her late twenties, early thirties, and she’s had the history that she’s had, been involved with the Russian KGB, obviously, she was taken as a young child and put into the Widow training program, and you learn more and more about what she did, during that time.”—Scarlett Johansson
Hello, I was confused about Natasha's birth dates in the recent marvel films, you see i read somewhere that she was born in 1928 and in the movies she is kind a mystery. She didn't appear in the captain America film either. Also in Captain America 2 a computer thingy identified her to be born in the 80s. Are the movies wrong or are there they two separate widows, or do you think they'll explain this?
The movies just exist on a different timeline— they differ from the comics, but I wouldn’t call them wrong. For example, in the comics Nick Fury was the leader of the Howling Commandos, not Captain America, and he is likewise impossibly aged due to comic book super science. In the movie Captain America was the leader of the Howling Commandos, and Nick Fury is impossibly aged due to Samuel L. Jackson.
Everyone involved in the films, from comic book tie-in creators to script writers to Scarlett Johansson herself, has mentioned that Natasha in the movie continuity is meant to be a contemporary take on an old concept. The comic book Black Widow was introduced in 1964, and wasn’t created immortal; several decades of plot twists made her that way. Because the stories have been running on for long and longer years, dates and times in comics are extra complicated. Natasha’s had at least three separate origin stories and only one of them sets her birthday to 1928. And adaptations of comic book stories tend to pick and choose and invent wholesale to make something that sticks to the screen.
There’s nothing within the universe of the movies that suggest Natasha’s secretly 84, and nothing that suggests she’s not the original Black Widow. Since the films haven’t elaborated much on Natasha’s mystery-flavor past, some fans look to her recent comic book background as inspiration.
I’m skeptical of the date mentioned in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, because I don’t expect them to remember it the next time we see her file. (The’ve mixed up this kind of thing before.) But I don’t think it was put there in bad faith, if that makes sense. Like I said, the people who created her for this have said this Black Widow is just younger than the comic version, and we’re supposed to see more of her origin in this world Avengers: Age of Ultron.
TL;DR: yes, there are two separate Widows, two separate timelines, and both are right.
why did the letters section ended in the natasha ongoing?
I have no clue! I also don’t know if it’s really ended— a lot of times letters pages skip a few issues. I do know that Marvel has started putting some lost letters pages online to save space and printing costs. I also know that nathanedmondson and ElliePyle would have better intel than me.
Hello! This is probably a stupid question, but I didn't find it in the FAQ - how old is Natasha?
It depends on who’s telling the story. I don’t really trust MCU birthdate continuity since it keeps contradicting, but Natasha in that universe is approximately the same age as the actress who plays her.
In the comics, Natasha was an infant in 1928 but had her aging slowed by a mystery science chemical.
OLD Black Widow script from 2005, for the canceled Lionsgate movie.
After some digging, I found David Hayter’s old script written in 2005 for a Black Widow movie that was planned for production by Marvel and Lionsgate. This film project was canceled after the failure of then-recent female action titles like Ultraviolet, Aeon Flux, Elektra, and others.
It’s an interesting read, I uploaded it to make it a bit easier to find.
Disclaimer: to the best of my knowledge, this script and its writer are not attached to a future Marvel Studios Black Widow film, and no future Black Widow film has yet been announced for release.
How do you feel about femslash, particularly involving Natasha?
Depends. Are we talking about good femslash? Or is it one of those times the women are paired off with each other to keep them tidy and non-threatening and in the background?
I wrote a post a while back about how I don’t think comic book Natasha is explicitly bisexual. But that was because I think it’s dangerous to mistake fanservice for representation, not because it’s a canon impossibility and she has to be straight-straight-straight. Maybe her next round love interest will be a woman. Maybe, in the MCU, she’s a lesbian.
But slash is a certain genre of same-gender story— it is something fans make and something fans do. And the old fannish ritual of queering the text works just as well on all genders. Except it doesn’t, really, because every now and again we have a discussion about why there’s not as much femslash, and how writing about men might feel safer to young women, and also more radical, or more sexy or more complex. But the old fannish ritual of queering the text works for all genders. Writing slash, and writing stories is a claim to these characters. Stories touch us, but we grasp them too, in reading and remembering. When fans write slash about Natasha— when they tell stories— it means they think she is worth claiming. I feel for that, even when the commas aren’t in the right place and the dialogue is not what I’d choose.
This tumblr is pretty shipping agnostic, partly because I wanted to create a space for Natasha’s fans no matter what they shipped, partly because I am a wimp who hates drama and partly because I just care less about shipping than the average bear. But I post f/f art and graphics sometimes, and sometimes I make them, too.
may i ask, what superheroines do you like aside from natasha? and what other female lead (or at least female friendly) comics would you recommend to someone just getting into comics? :)
I like most superheroines, I am not a tricky person to figure out. I am special fond of Jessica Jones, Tigra, the Huntress, and Patsy Walker and Nico Minoru to name a few, but I could keep going!!
As for comics, well, it depends? Do you want to read about superheroes or swordfights or true-seeming lives? Do you want to read a series that’s coming out every month and never ending, or a whole story already told? If you want to read more current Marvel things I’d try Captain or Ms. Marvel or one of the other Marvel Now books that hits you. If you want more murky spy stuff, and the costumes don’t matter, you might try Queen and Country.
clinging to the high from cap2 while scrolling through your "boyfriend files" tag made me wonder if you were planning on writing about nat/bucky because i feel like it's being made into one of those "everlasting love" clusterfucks that i think you've the cumulative knowledge to clear up, your blog gives me sweet sweet life
That would be the plan! If I ever uh return to the writing of longform essays which I have lately been too lazy for, but I was doing them in publication order so Bucky’d be the last of all. (Matt Murdock is next for those wondering, and I have that plotted in my head as two parts because I am a secret Matt Murdock trashblogger.) I have talked a lot about Bucky on this blog, in fact possibly too much, so some of those archives might be interesting to you, and I have a tag for ship things too.
But I do not think I have the great and terrible power to change tumblr’s shipping thoughts!! I’m happy to share my own opinions and ideas and staple panels and continuity together, but I do that for its own sake and not to be correct. It’s not that I don’t think fandom can get things wrong sometimes or I don’t see interpretations of things I love that I disagree with. I do! And I am not too big to fall into the “people are wrong about my fictional characters on the internet" hole that belongs to every strong-feeling fan. But if I really wrote from a goal of eliminate all badwrong interpretations from the tracked tags I’d never win, and I’d never be able to enjoy myself. So, I definitely hope to do a Boyfriend Files writeup of J. Bucky Barnes one day, but if you expect it to eliminate all clusterfucks you will probably be disappointed.
I hope you’d wind up liking it anyway. Thanks for the nice comments about my blog!!