Female moviegoers have made “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Cinderella,” and now “Insurgent” the three biggest live-action openings of the year so far.
The “Divergent” sequel raked in $54 million domestically and another $47 internationally over the weekend for a three-day total of $101 million The film is expected to gross between $300 million and $400 million during its theatrical release — a slight improvement over the first film. International audiences are responsible for the estimated boost in ticket sales, leading media analyst Paul Dergarabedian to deduce, “Foreign audiences are ravenous for action-tinged films with strong female leads.”
But even non-action films with women protagonists are faring extremely well. “Cinderella” crossed the $250 million this weekend, while “Fifty Shades” currently boasts a $550 million haul — and that’s not even counting the profits from those handcuffed teddy bears.
The New York Times wonders if this winter’s trend of female-centric hits might finally force Hollywood to take note that it’s girls and women who are driving ticket sales. “Teenage girls still seem to want the experience of going to the movies as a group,” said Terry Press, president of CBS Films, which recently had a small but sizable hit with the charming comedy “The DUFF.” And it’s not just teenage girls; women also went to go see “Fifty Shades” with their friends.
Adding to the argument that female moviegoers are now Hollywood’s most reliable audience is that a spate of recent movies aimed at men — “Jupiter Ascending,” “Seventh Son,” “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” “Chappie,” and “The Gunman” — bombed significantly. (None of them earned a Rotten Tomatoes score above 30%, either.)
“The whole notion of the summer blockbuster has always been built around young men,” Dergarabedian said. “I think we’re about to see that change. The clout and importance of the female audience has never been bigger.”