One thing we're hoping that Hollywood takes away from 2017 — other than that more women and diversity are desperately needed at all levels of the industry — is that movies featuring women as lead characters do well. Like, really well: this year, Girl's Trip grossed over $100 million, and Lady Bird earned several awards and was critically acclaimed.
We're glad to see that Ocean's 8 director Gary Ross is taking those lessons to heart. After directing the hugely successful Hunger Games franchise, he was inspired to tell stories about amazing women doing amazing things. "When I did Hunger Games I had so many people warn me that it could never be successful, not because of the violence or anything like that but that no one would ever go to a movie with this kind of female protagonist," Ross told Entertainment Weekly.
We could have told him that female-lead films do well, but we're glad Ross didn't share the popular sentiment that they don't. "I disagreed," he continued. "I loved making [the Hunger Games] movie for that reason. I loved seeing Jennifer in that role and seeing her be empowered in that way and seeing boys and girls respond to it equally."
Naturally, Ross wanted to direct more films featuring women in lead roles. "I just thought it was interesting to invade the terrain that always had an off-limits sign. That’s an important thing to do. And it would be great to see all these women do something that had always been the province of men," he says, of broaching the Ocean's franchise with an all-female ensemble cast.
It's time to move past the idea that women-centered films don't perform as well as those works led by men. Hollywood owes it to its audiences to allow us to see the world from a different perspective — after all, women are 50% of the population and we've been waiting so long to see our stories be told on the big screen. So when movies talk about our lives, we eagerly go see them in theaters. Are you listening, big studios? Have you seen the numbers of films like Bridesmaids and Wonder Woman? These movies make money. If that hasn't become readily apparent already, or by the time Ocean's 8 is released, we'll need to have a much longer conversation.
Still, we're so, so excited to see Ocean's 8 come true. The star power of this film — hello, Rihanna? Sandra Bullock? Sarah Paulson? — is enough to fire us up, but cast together in one of our favorite film franchises? Yes, please. Just another reason to give thanks to Katniss Everdeen.