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Bear Time

Brave Takes First Place at Box Office, Busts Pre-release Expectations

If you’ve been reading us long enough, you should be familiar with the fact that Hollywood considers an action movie with a female lead to be hobbled by the gender of its main character, doomed to do poorly at the box office because lacks the ability (somehow) to attract a male viewership. Movies with female leads are considered to be at such a disadvantage that they can be incredibly difficult to get greenlit, making it even more difficult find examples that disprove this widely accepted rule. Before this weekend, Brave was expected to open at $65 million if it was lucky, despite the fact that the last twelve Pixar movies have opened at the top of the box office.

The numbers are in, and Brave netted nearly $68 million this weekend, beating the pants off of every other movie in the top ten by a factor of at least three. But that’s not all.

Brave‘s audience was only slightly skewed female, with 43% of those attending being male. It has preserved Pixar’s streak of box office topping openings. It now boasts the second-best June opening for an animated film in history, behind Toy Story 3.

While I’m far too jaded to assume that direct evidence of the success of action films with female archers will do much to change Hollywood’s practices any time soon, there is a tiny bit of me that holds out hope.

(via The Wrap.)


  • Anonymous

    Well the sucess of Hunger Games and Brave make me hopeful that Hollywood will eventually realize you can have female centric stories and get men to watch it. 

  • Sean Samonas

    Well hopefully something good will come out of Brave’s existence.

  • Noggin.Nik

    I saw Brave last night in Chicago, and a) it was great. But more importantly, b) there was a 3D preview for The Hobbit and it was AWESOME!!!!!!!! I totally cried with excitement. So if you haven’t felt the drive to see Brave from the previews/reviews alone, go see it in order to see The Hobbit preview in 3D!!!! Ahhhh!!!

  • Aja

    Snow White and the Huntsmen, whatever else you can say about its merits as a film, also opened at the top of its box office weekend.  So far, it’s been a great year for disproving the lie about women in action films.

  • Anonymous

    I saw it Saturday night with my 5 year old son and we both loved it. The theater was packed and I think there was a good mix of males & females. In fact, there were a lot of dads there with their daughters.

  • Rachel Banzhaf

    Most likely Hollywood will come out with a bunch of “girls with bows” movies, thinking that’s the trick.

    Barbie as Robin Hood is surely just around the bend.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    My wife, brother-in-law, and I sat across from a dad with a little boy & girl, which was cute.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Although I’d trust Brave more than Snow White, since that was billed as Bella and Thor fight Charlize Theron on Middle Earth.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Kiera Knightley was in that movie! I forget what it was called, though…Robin Hood: Queen of Thieves? I’m not sure.

  • Anna B

    My hope is that they’ll look at Hunger Games and Brave and realize what works for female-led action movies. I respect their attempt with “Hannah” and “Kill Bill” (which were pretty successful), but most of Hollywood seem to think that they could write an action script about a man and just replace it with a female character (e.g., Columbiana). I enjoyed what was done in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” I suppose, even if it pitted women against women more often than they had women getting along.

  • Mark Matson

    Is there any successful action film this year that didn’t feature a female lead?  Even the mostly male Avengers spent a fair amount of advertisement pushing Black Widow.

  • mage_cat

     You’re thinking of Princess of Thieves.

  • Chris Adamson

    Action films with female archers? Quick, Hollywood, green-light the “Madoka Magica” movie! C’mon, just make a contract…

  • Xandra Dust

    I saw Brave over the weekend and there was a good deal of little boys in the audience, along with the little girls. So as long as the movie looks awesome, they’ll see it, whether or not there’s a female as the lead. Later that day I actually went to the Disney store and saw some little boys ogling the bear plushies. (It was so cute!) 

  • Angelica Brenner

    *insert atrocious “Homura Akedemi Award” pun here*

  • Nicole Kiser

     My husband’s eyes got round as saucers when he saw that Hobbit preview. He turned to me right after seeing it and said, “I’m so pumped for that movie now!!!!”

    Apparently it was all about the Dwarvish music. He said it really moved him. ;)

    I also looooved Brave. I guess some people are saying it wasn’t as good as other Pixar films but I’m like…. Wha? I loved it. It was great to have a female lead who wasn’t trying to “get the guy”. I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing a teenager admit they were wrong and apologize (not enough of those types of moral lessons in entertainment if you ask me). ;)

  • Anonymous

    I saw Brave with a couple of my girlfriends and my disney buff mother, and all of us loved it. A family of mostly boys was right next to us, and it was fun listening to them hoot and cheer and gasp and yelp at all the right moments. They didn’t seem to care that they were hooting and gasping for a girl, so long as she was doing something cool.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Nice. I haven’t actually seen it.