We are living in the age of the superhero movie: Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Batman -- even Ant-Man is getting his own film. What’s missing from that list? The letters “wo.” While Wonder Woman will show up in 2016’s Superman vs. Batman movie and Black Widow gets serious screen time in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, neither woman has yet to get a solo movie. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has talked about giving Black Widow her own movie, but he hasn't actually green-lit it yet.
See, the reason Wonder Woman and Black Widow haven’t yet had their shot at having their own movie is the nagging theory that guys won’t go see action movies with a female hero. Whether that is true or not, the failures of Catwoman (2004) and Elektra (2005) certainly didn’t help.
The good news is that kids don’t carry their parents’ preconceptions – and why would they? Today, moms work just as hard as dads do, sisters are just as active in sports, and smart, capable girls are less threatening to boys than ever before. Looking at the success of films released in the last 12 months with a teen-girl protagonist, the argument is strong that gender bias may be a thing of the past:
* The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was the number one movie for 2013 in the U.S.
* Frozen is the number one animated movie of all time, grossing more than $1 billion.
* Divergent crossed the $100 million mark in the U.S. in less than two weeks.
What's more, it’s not just teen girls going to see these films – analysts found the theaters were full of males and females, young and old. Take a closer look at the content of these films: all three are action-adventures with an intelligent, clever, brave and tough main character. The romance factor is equal to or less than a Die Hard or Rocky. It are the elements in the movie that dictate if a boy wants to see it, not the gender of its hero.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow goes toe-to-toe with superheroes and supervillains alike – without superpowers. She’s also sharp, funny, loyal, self-aware, a leader and is driven to rectify the wrongs of her youth. Now that’s a hero we can all rally around.