One of the most recent projects rumored to be in the works for the DC Extended Universe is a Batgirl stand alone film. Any story from the Bat-Family tends to get lots of buzz, and this story is no different–especially since Joss Whedon’s speculatively in talks to direct! While this humble nerd journalist believes this could definitely be a big move for DC, we need to see how Warner Brothers handles Wonder Woman first before getting ourselves too excited; the success or failure of that film will help dictate the direction of Batgirl and every other female protagonist in the DCEU.
Wonder Woman will be the largest standalone superhero movie with a female lead to-date. This is huge in white male dominated Hollywood, where studio execs are sure to pay close attention to how everyone’s favorite Amazon performs at the box office. Much of the argument against female-centered superhero films stems from the misguided belief that the genre’s audience is mostly male, and won’t pay to see a female lead. That’s where we as the audience have to prove the stiff old men in the suits wrong.
Market research tells us that 46.67% of comic book readers are, in fact, women, a number that should leave you scratching your head if you just glance at Hollywood’s marketing approach. If so many women are reading comics (and taking one look around any comic con will tell you they are), why isn’t more content geared towards them? The release of Wonder Woman won’t just impact Warner Bros and DC Comics, it has ramifications for Marvel with the Ms. Marvel film is set to begin production next January. Wonder Woman will have finished its box office run long before then, so you can bet that Marvel and the folks at Disney are going to keep a close eye on those numbers.
The Batgirl film is in such an early stage of development (Hell, it’s still just a rumor) that DC/Warner Bros wouldn’t hesitate to scrap the project altogether should Wonder Woman tank financially. Having a female lead superhero film with an estimated $120-million budget perform poorly would be a devastating blow to an industry that’s already struggling for y ears with diversity and equality issues. In recent years the only two actresses to crack the “Top 100 Paid Celebrities” list were Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence, both of whom are strong advocates for closing the Hollywood wage gap.
In addition to said gap, Hollywood has always been notoriously white to the point of even changing characters’ ethnicity in order to justify casting a big name white actor in the role. Wonder Woman also has the potential to impact the DCEU and industry as a whole in that regard. Cyborg is the next Justice League standalone project in the works starring Ray Fisher, but if films outside big names like Batman and Superman under perform there’s a good chance lesser known minority characters won’t get a shot at the silver screen. At the end of the day, Hollywood execs just don’t want to take any chances when it comes to their money.
If you want to see Batgirl become a reality, go out and support Wonder Woman. She’s boldly paving the way for the female superhero genre. Who knows, maybe a few years from now I’ll be writing about how discrimination in Hollywood was a thing of the past while waiting for the release of that Black Widow movie Marvel seems dead set on not making. The change in Hollywood needs to come from the consumers, and this nerd fully believes Wonder Woman could be the film to finally kick that door in!