Given that my senior paper and my final project for this class are both about the 2015 film Fifty Shades of Grey, I found it extremely fitting to post this article about the film for my media example.
This article in The Hollywood Reporter shares that Fifty Shades scored the biggest opening in history for a female film director. This article was written before the opening weekend had concluded, however, the movie was tipped to gross $81.7 million nationwide within the 3 day opening weekend. The second highest grossing film opening for a female director was Twilight which grossed $69.6 million it’s opening weekend.
Both Sam Taylor-Johnson, director of Fifty Shades, and Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight, are undeniably very talented, successful directors, regardless of their gender. However, both women faced instances in which men undermined overtook their power. As noted in the article, “the [Fifty Shades] franchise [was put] in the hands of male directors.” And Hardwicke was not invited to direct the rest of the Twilight films (this is not discussed in this article). Instead, a male director was hired in her place.
In Manohla Dargis’s article, “In Hollywood, It’s a Men’s, Men’s World,” she quotes producer Cassian Elwes – “And the moment that you mention that it’s a female director” to foreign sales companies, you can see the eyes start to roll.” It is a male-dominated world. The buyers want action films and they don’t see women as action directors. That’s where the whole thing kind of blows up.”
With that said, it is clear there is a stereotype associated with female directors and the assumption that they cannot direct a film as well as a man could, no matter how successful their films have been in the past. If the numbers (and dollar signs) don’t speak to men, I doubt that anything ever will.