There were about 110 movies with a male lead and 5 with a female lead. Of the second-billed females, nearly all are written as love interests of the first-billed man. There were over sixty movies in the sample with two male stars top-billed. The only movies with two top-billed female roles, on the other hand, were The Devil Wears Prada and Scary Movie 4.
My cousin has been working on tallying (by hand!) all movies with two top-billed female stars. She reports that there are staggeringly few of them, and the roles fall mainly in two genres: mother-daughter bonding movies and horror films. Hollywood is not creating female heroes.
This is seriously fucked up. But you know who’s to blame? Marketing.
Once you accept the Golden Demographic* as axiomatic, all your rationalizing is done for you with statistics. Which of course is the way to make art and entertain people. Who doesn’t long for the sweet freedom form the tyranny of story telling and compelling drama? More explosions! That’s what males, age 18 to 34 want! and who are we to say no to the demands of the Market? OK, we’ll throw a chic in there but only if we can see her boobs and let the camera linger on her ass.
Randal, being the super genius that he is, has the solution: Summer Glau kicking Dick Chenney in the face. Not only would I pay full price to see that, I’d buy it on DVD. Twice.
* Ever wonder who came up with the stupid Baby Boomer/Gen X idea? Demographers. It’s so they can use our memories and tribal affiliations to better sell us crap we don’t need.