Woe, Hollywood

Woe, Hollywood

Warner Bros had denied Internet reports that president of production Jeff Robinov declared, "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead."

According to a Warner Bros rep, "Mr. Robinov never made that statement, nor is it his policy."

You can read the entire story at slashfilm.

As Peter Sciretta concludes, "We'll likely never get a real answer to what happened…Now it is our job to check up on them and see this through. It will be interesting to see how many Warner Bros films come out in the next two years with female leads."

Indeed. If Warner Bros are honest in their denial we can expect to see women in some roles other than sidekick, love interest, sexy but evil adversary, or random eye candy. Time will tell.

In general Hollywood has been doing a woeful job of utilizing female talent. An annual survey conducted at San Diego State University showed that of the 250 top-grossing American films in 2006 only 7% had women directors. Women screenwriters account for 10% of the total (down from 13% in 1998). In 1999 the median earning figures for male and female film writers showed a gap of $24,000. By 2005 that gap had risen to $40,000 with median earning figures for male writers in the film industry sitting at $90,000 while the female median was a mere $50,000. (Figures from The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2006 and The 2007 Hollywood Writers Report: Whose Stories Are We Telling?)

Martha Lauzen, a professor at San Diego State University, estimates that the number of female executives in Hollywood studios is around 20%. "We're at the same place we would have been in 1999," she said. In the past two years, three of the four women who held top jobs at Hollywood's major studios were all replaced by men. (Hollywood's shortage of female power)

So few female executives, even fewer female writers (with those few earning just over half what male writers do) and the woman director being such a rare figure in Hollywood that we may even begin to doubt her existence. Oh, Hollywood, what's the problem? Don't you know that relegating women to bit-player status in so many areas of filmmaking robs you of a wealth of creative vision and bankable stories? Sure 300 was okay but so were Marie Antoinette and The Devil Wears Prada. Putting the box office failure of a movie down to the presence of ovaries rather than bad writing or a lack of cohesive direction (like when you have three directors working on The Invasion for example...) is ridiculous to the nth degree. You've heard of fair trade, right, Hollywood? What about fair play? What about hiring the best person for the job and paying them a fair wage? And what about telling diverse stories featuring diverse people rather than rehashing tired plotlines with clichéd characters? I'm telling you, I'll bet there's even some money in it for you.
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