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Brave Scores $66 Million Opening Weekend

Box Office
by Melissa Silverstein
June 25, 2012 11:15 AM
3 Comments
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"Brave"
Brave from Pixar opened up at $66 million this weekend.  Here's a great quote from Grady Smith from EW in his box office roundup:

For the third time this year, following strong openings from The Hunger Games and Snow White and the Huntsman,  a movie with a tough female protagonist topped the box office in a major way.

The reason why this matters is because all three are big budget movies. In action/superhero boy film range.  Both Snow White and the Huntsman and Brave have budgets in the range of $150 million plus, and The Hunger Games was just a hair under $100 million. 

In general, there are very few movies that have female leads that are in that budget range.  If you don't have a big budget, you don't open on a lot of screens and then you have a hard time making serious cash.  It's a vicious cycle.  Of the top grossing women centric films in 2011 --the ones that made over $100 million --  the only female centric film that had over a $100 million budget was Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 at $110 million.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was budgeted at $90 million.  Both The Help and Bridesmaids had relatively low budgets at $25 million and $32 million respectively.  And  Bad Teacher had an even lower budget of $20 million.  Cameron Diaz is laughing her ass all the way to the bank on this film.  We all know that people were surprised at the successes of The Help and Bridesmaids and there has not been much conversation about the success of Bad Teacher (which there shoudl be.)

There was a lot of pressure placed on this film on the box office side and the content side.  All the previous Pixar films opened at number 1 at the box office.  What would it have looked like had the first Pixar film with a female lead not to have scored a number 1 debut.  But we don't need to worry about that since Brave hit the number 1 spot with $66 million.  Awards Daily had the gender and age breakdown 57% under 25; 43% over 25.  And 43% male and 57% female.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this film will have some good legs over the July 4th holiday.  As we know women are a bit slower to the box office and are big responders to word of mouth so I'm gonna guess that this film will hold up and not lose as much of its audience on the 2nd and 3rd weekend like a typical wide release.

As for the content.  Expectations were very high.  People were waiting a long time for a female film from Pixar -- too long.  And this year we got The Hunger Games so our bar for female characters on film is getting higher.  That's a good thing. 

There is still the bad taste in all our mouths that director Brenda Chapman who came up with the idea of this film was replaced by Mark Andrews.  And as Mary Pols aptly says in Time, she's the character is still a princess.   "She’s a rebellious tomboy, but her concerns are still limited to those of a princess, the biggest of which remains, as ever, marriage."

I totally agree.  While I encourage all little girls and boys to go and see this film, I know my sister is going to cringe when she sees that Merida is a princess because all her five year old daughter talks about is princesses.  It's not that she is a shrinking violet, she's so active and swims like a fish and climbs trees, but she sees princesses everywhere so she wants to be one.

I wish we could put a moratorium on princesses, which by the way is also the lead character in Snow White and the Huntsman.  Sometimes I think that the culture will only let girls go just so far...and then has to reign them in with all the princess crap.

So while it is important to support this film so that Pixar will make other films with a female lead, we need to encourage the good folks at Pixar to next time, leave the princess at home and give girls something else to aspire to.

Box office report: 'Brave' hits the bullseye with $66.7 million; 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' gets staked (EW)

Why Pixar's Brave Is a Failure of Female Empowerment (Time)

Brave proves skeptics wrong to the tune of $66M (Awards Daily)

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

3 Comments

  • Bes | June 26, 2012 6:38 PMReply

    I get to see Brave tonight and I'm really looking forward to it. I do really resent the idea that if we don't go see what ever movie there is with a female in it no more will get made. Really? It's not like women and girls are some minority, we are the majority. Is it really a legitimate business decision for Hollywood to ignore 52% of the potential audience and threaten us? I don't think so. Also Princes derive their power from their Father or Husband so this is minimally acceptable to the Patriarchy, the women do not achieve Princes power on their own strength. I too have had it with the Princes crap but it is all you see at Halloween besides generic costumes because there are so few female characters that appeal to girls and also few female characters who wear clothes giving girls a costume to copy. Finally can I count on no more movies like Sucker Punch and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo being made because women and girl audiences didn't go to them? No I think not, the male dissipate guilt T & A genre will be alive and well. No need to feel guilty about sexual violence guys, that is clearly what gives women strength and life purpose.

  • Budmin | June 26, 2012 1:21 PMReply

    Why is everybody so hard on Princesses? It's hard to make an escapist fantasy without the wealth and power afforded to a Monarchy. I'm sure peasants at that time lived very interesting lives but I doubt most would make for a commercially successful block buster.

  • grrljock | June 25, 2012 1:51 PMReply

    Melissa,

    I too get discouraged by the fact that we still have to fight for our rights in 2012, but sometimes I just want to be optimistic and celebrate some accomplishment. So let's celebrate the fact that Merida is a strong character, who through her own efforts cleaned up the mess that she caused (and strengthen her kingdom) and improved her primary relationship (with her mother), all WITHOUT a prince in sight. I get what Pols and Orenstein said in the TIME article, but I think it's driven by the same impulse that results in multiple articles decrying the lack of diversity in Lena Dunham's "Girls", or denunciations of "The Kids Are All Right" because the lesbian character cheated on her partner with a man. I.e., with the dearth of main female and lesbian main characters, ANY representation thereof must be perfect, or the storyteller is found irresponsible. Even Pols acknowledges this at the end of the article, that what she really wants is to have many female characters/stories so that she doesn't have to endlessly scrutinize the ones that crop up now and then.

    I cherish this beautiful story of the often scary journey that a daughter and mother take that results in a deeper understanding between them. This doesn't preclude me from agreeing with you, we need to tell the Pixar folks that while this is a great first step, we need more!

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