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DC Comics President Challenged on "Embarrassing" Record of Excluding Women

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by Inkoo Kang
June 16, 2014 2:00 PM
18 Comments
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Diane Nelson

Last Friday, a male shareholder asked DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson about her studio's "embarrassing" lack of superheroine movies. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the unnamed shareholder "not[ed] that most of Time Warner's board members are 'white males' [and] said it was 'embarrassing' how [Time Warner subsidiary] Warner Bros., in particular DC, portrays women in the stories it tells. He added he's also not impressed with the way Disney's Marvel Entertainment ignores women."

Nelson responded, "I would challenge you that there are simply not enough in-creative-control women at Warner Bros. that can develop these characters in ways that appeal to the audience."

"It's something we're very conscious of," she added. "We have more work to do. But I think if we talk again in a couple of years, you'll be pleased with the results."

Whether there is actually something in the works at DC or Nelson was just buying herself some time is, of course, unkonwn. The fact remains that DC is the studio that has greenlit a total of zero movies about Wonder Women. 

Nelson has led DC Entertainment since its founding in 2009. 

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18 Comments

  • beligerantrobot | June 19, 2014 2:22 PMReply

    The argument that men will not see a film featuring a powerful female hero was demolished by Alien and Terminator 2. The problem is weak female heros masquerading as strong. No one wants to see a 90 pound idiot in high heels and lingerie fighting aliens, robots, or stereotype female villains. What a Wonder Woman film debut should be is a Greek Goddess in full scale riot against forces beyond human reach. Her best comics and animated work involve Hades and Ares. Her most interesting costume is (subjectively I admit) the gladiator armour inspired leather kilt with sword & shield. Let the badass in, kick the swimsuit model out.

  • jimmy woo | June 17, 2014 8:16 PMReply

    There is nothing "embarrassing about D.C.s record with women. If anything there are way too many women characters compared to the number of women readers. This article and others like it done recently, are just ridiculous attempts at PR.

    The real tragedy is the women at the helm at DC. DC has been horrible in the last 2 1/2 years. If one has to blame perhaps it is her. She is after all, at the very top. The New 52 are just terrible terrible re-tellings of the D.C. Universe and needs to stop. This is the only place were the word "reboot" is not a dirty word.

    There has been attempts lately to change this but, too little too late. The DC World is cow excrement. The 52 must go and this female with it.

  • Mansa Keita | June 17, 2014 5:03 PMReply

    Their Vertigo Imprint does a good job of incorporating women but they do drop the ball in the DC Universe. I thought they were gonna do more with Rene Montoya after her arc in 52 series back in 2008. I also wouldn't mind seeing C.C.H. Pounder portray Amanda Waller in a live action Superman movie. Waller can be a complex character and a good villain with some major character development.

  • Benny Katz | June 17, 2014 6:36 AMReply

    It's a two way street! When I grew up, girls didn't read comic books (with the exception of perhaps a Betty and Veronica or Archie). Hollywood, like any business, will support female action movies when the females in its demographic do! I know of no female, whether related or I've dated that expressed any desire to see the superhero movies that have out there in abundance for the last decade or two. I've actually had to make deals to get them interested. I'd promise to watch a Sandra Bullock flick in exchange for an X-men movie. Studios are not going to spend a lot of money making big budget super heroine movies if the audience isn't there!

  • cmarcus | June 17, 2014 12:03 PM

    Not true, I read every DC comic book and I am a very feminine woman and I'm not in the minority.

  • Shupapa | June 16, 2014 10:37 PMReply

    The thing with superheroine films is that the studios don't want to invest in them. They think male heroes are safer, and they pour the budget to them and when they do decide to make a superheroine film (Elektra and Catwoman for example) they spend little effort to make them good. Superheroes + more films + more budget = some success, while superheroines + dismal number of films + less budget = no success at all. The fact is that more male lead superhero films are mediocre than okay, but they are made so much more than some do succeed.

    That's why I'm anxious with the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, if they failed to make it good then her gender might be blamed for the failure and no female lead superhero film will be made for a long, long time. It is a myth that most superhero film watches are males, around 40% of the Avengers' audience were women despite the high gender gap with the characters.

    Besides WW, I think the following DC superheroines are the most "adaptable:" Batgirl (Cassandra Cain being mentored by Gordon) and Birds of Prey. Then there's the fact that Hit Girl is more popular than Kick-Ass but she didn't have her own title.

  • Chris | June 16, 2014 10:11 PMReply

    The problem lies with script writers changing loved characters such as Batgirl in that extremely horrible George Cloony Batman movie. The problem also lies with casting directors giving roles to actresses simply based on who the actress is and not if they look like they would fit the role.

  • soulchicken | June 16, 2014 8:46 PMReply

    Nonsense. The biggest problem about female heroines is that most actresses don't look the part at all. Not too mention that the vast majority of male comic book fans don't want to spend there money on a girl-power flick--which is exactly what it will be. You cannot escape that any movie with a strong female lead like this fool is proposing will become a flagship for feminism. If they could pull off a great story and avoid the political crap with a female lead that doesn't look like a joke (as in WW being some skinny thing without actual muscles) then go for it. Good luck.

  • Sturgeon's Law | June 16, 2014 7:26 PMReply

    I have no problem with more women comics fans, comics heroes, and comics films. All I ask in return is that the vast majority of women who call me a nerd for liking comics kindly stick a freakin' sock in it.

    But that ain't gonna happen, so there.

  • Duey2000 | June 16, 2014 7:25 PMReply

    What should embarrass WB/DC is that they have Wonder Woman, which is one of the most recognizable super heroes of all time, and they have passed time and time again to do a movie or television series on her since Linda Carter's. Men and women have been asking for one for years, and they some how have never put the time or effort into doing it right. Instead, they're going to cram her into Batman/Superman along with 3 other super heroes and hope that it does well enough to do a Justice League. Every exec at DC shoulda been let go years ago...

  • Nakane | June 17, 2014 1:01 AM

    Here here! Been saying that for years! Considering how popular the damn animated series were in the 90s and on since BtAs

  • Max | June 16, 2014 6:12 PMReply

    More troublemakers!

  • Nakane | June 16, 2014 5:59 PMReply

    Wow the two comments on this article is why we female comic book geeks are getting screwed out of our women superhero movies. Hello the target audience isn't JUST MALE morons! There are a crap load of females that would love for Hollywood to get their head out of thir ass and make some strong female superhero movies. Hello DC u can do them right in cartoon form so why don't u find a why to make it work in live action. Wonder Woman has needed a movie in forever and we are still waiting. Tired of this fascination of making everyone broody and like Batman. The new 52 crap is annoying. I and many girls want more. Example Batgirl, Black Canary, Huntress, Zatanna, Batwoman, hell Birds of Prey would be nice. The sad part is most of these women are very well known among fans.
    If the president of DC doesn't have the balls to git er done, I would be happen to take her place and make things happen no matter wat people's like J.C. And Wade Wilson on these comments here. If you build the right product and have the right writers it could happen. Again everyone isn't Batman. Hell Superman isn't even broody people and that Man of Steel movie was BORING and all kinds of wrong. And don't get me started on the crap feat that was Nolan's Batman, who apparently became a moron and everyone could fool him and trick him in every one of them dumb movies.
    Personally I think the writers of the animated series of Batman and Justice League should write the live action scripts. Maybe then real fans won't get the crap like Man of Steel , Dark Knight, and Green Lantern. But doubt that would happen. Guess watching JL, BtAs, and JLU along with Young Justice will be the only why a comic book fan will enjoy the characters they grew up with.

  • J.C. | June 16, 2014 5:33 PMReply

    Only a silly mangina would complain about a lack of women in comic book movies... The goal of a studio is to make money, and when the target audience is primarily male then that's who the studio has to cater to. You wanna watch a movie geared towards women? Go rent 'The Notebook' or some other silly chick-flick... Bloody Politically Correct wankers!

  • glenn | June 19, 2014 1:01 AM

    They can't all be serious cinema like Guardians of the Galaxy, Man of Steel, or Thor: The Dark World.

  • Wade Wilson | June 16, 2014 5:16 PMReply

    Whine, whine, whine. The truth to the matter is that they haven't come up with a Wonder Woman or such film due in part to lack of interest. Why would they want to make a movie they know won't make the hundreds of millions Man of Steel or the Dark Knight did? Come up with a great script and approach, and then maybe people will give a shit. I for one as a comic fan wouldn't go see a Wonder Woman film unless it was done really well, mostly because I'm not really a fan of hers outside JLA.

  • glenn | June 19, 2014 12:59 AM

    Because Watchmen looked like such a sure thing. As does the upcoming Shazam, if Nikki Finke is right.

  • Wrong-O-Buddy | June 16, 2014 5:44 PM

    Actually there is plenty of interest in a wonder woman movie and the only reason a Joss Whedon WW movie didn't happen was that DC wasn't willing to give him creative control. So he went on and did Avengers instead, which was just fine in Marvel's book...

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